A Walk in the Park

By Forest Balderson August 31, 2011

Most cities would love to have downtown Bradenton’s priceless location on the Manatee River. And finally, the city will be developing this beautiful site to reach its full potential. Funded by $5 million in tax-exempt bonds and $1.2 million from the City of Bradenton’s cash reserve, the 1.25-mile Bradenton Riverwalk (between Ninth Street West and Sixth Street East) will be a pedestrian- and bike-friendly destination for the community to enjoy events, performances, recreation and quiet reflection. The project groundbreaking was in August, with a completion date in the summer of 2012. Here’s a look at some of the features.

Bradenton's Riverfron Park

Social Networking

Bright House Networks will install WiFi access on the Riverwalk.

The Sound of Music

From lectures to music concerts to local jam sessions, visitors year-round can sit under the shade of the colorful amphitheater with enhanced sound and lighting systems.

Staying Cool

An interactive fountain and plaza encourages children and adults to get wet in the cooling sprays of the fountain or relax on the outside of the waterworks.

Pedal Power 

A convenient bike rental station with credit card swipe capability will allow visitors to travel along Riverwalk and to other downtown destinations.


Volleyball players will find a sand court plus a shaded pavilion and spectator seating under palm trees.

Carving the Bowl

A concrete skate park will be designed with both bowl and street courses for skateboarders looking to hone their skills.

My Space

In addition to encouraging overall wellness activities like yoga, meditation and/or tai chi—and, yes, even drum circles—the Riverwalk boasts a multi-purpose lawn area for everything from frisbee to potato sack races to touch football.

Honoring Veterans

The existing veterans’ memorial will be enhanced with perimeter landscape design, while the EMS Memorial, honoring those emergency workers who’ve given their lives in service, will remain in Memorial Park but be moved to afford it greater visibility.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Rowing is taking off in Manatee, and this hardscape rowing plaza allows for viewing and staging rowing events for local and collegiate teams from around the U.S.

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