By CARL MARIO NUDI
Residents have been giving their thoughts and opinions to the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department staff about what they would like to see their parks and green spaces look like in the future.
The department, headed by Charles Hunsicker, held three public meetings to gather input for a 15-year plan on how to develop the county’s recreational and open spaces.
There will be two more meetings from 6 to 8 p.m. each date on Dec. 15 at the South Manatee Branch Library, 6081 26th St. W., Bradenton, and Jan. 12, at the Palmetto Library, 923 6th St. W., Palmetto.
“We need to learn from the people we serve,” Hunsicker said on Dec. 7 at a public meeting held at the Rocky Bluff Library. “It would be foolish not to garner all the information we can before we set our goals for the future.”
Mike Sclafani, of Colony Cove, was at the Rocky Bluff Library meeting and Sclafani said he would like to see more parks north of the Manatee River, but as an avid softball player was satisfied with the fields at G.T. Bray Park on 59th Street West.
Sclafani said he came to the meeting because his wife, Nancy, wanted to voice her desire for more public shuffleboard courts, especially with lighting, to attract a younger crowd.
“The young people are working or in school during the day,” Sclafani said.
For those unable to attend any of the public meetings, there is an online survey at surveymonkey.com/r/manateecountysurvey.
All of the information gathered at the meetings and from the survey will be used to develop a master plan that will be presented to the Manatee County Board of Commissioners for approval.
For more information on development of the master plan, visit the special county website at planmanateeparks.com, or follow on Facebook at facebook.com/manatee.county.fl.