In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Bradenton City Council approved of moving forward on plans to build a City Centre (public safety complex) that will include a city hall and police and fire stations at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 100 10th St. W. Councilman Gene Gallo voted no.
"Once we put a government complex there, the revitalization of downtown Bradenton is over," said Gallo, who favored a hotel on the site. "We should consider putting something down there that will increase the tax base."
Nearly a dozen residents spoke against a safety complex on auditorium property during the council's July 24 regularly scheduled meeting, but the council decided a complex on that site is a step forward in revitalizing downtown. The council did not allow public comment in Tuesday's special meeting.
"I hope this doesn't divide us (the community)," said Joan Abrahamson-Voyles, president of the Manatee County Cultural Alliance, after the decision. "The message is that we care about downtown."
In one of the conceptual plans from National Development, Bradenton City Hall is a second-floor component of the existing auditorium. The fire department would face 10th Street West, with the police department on 11th Street West. The existing police and fire stations are at 1004 Ninth Ave. W. And 1010 Ninth Ave. W. Bradenton City Hall currently is at 500 15th St. W.
Before the council approved of continuing negotiations for design and construction with Ron Allen, a representative of National Development Corp., it voted 3-2 to deny approval of a waterfront development project that would have included an 83-room Hampton Inn hotel and a 175-slip marina expansion.
Hugh Miller, executive vice president of Miller Enterprises, 1111 Third Ave. W., and part of the family what owns the Pier Rstaurant and its marina on the Manatee River, offered the waterfront development plan.