Last week, Nathan Benderson Park and Sarasota County were recognized by the International Economic Development Council. They were honored with a Silver Excellence Award in Economic Development at the IDEC’s Philadelphia conference. The county and park took home the title in the public-private partnership for communities with populations of 200,000 to 500,000 category. The IDEC’s excellence in economic development awards recognize the world’s top economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and influential leaders, according to a statement. The awards seek to honor organizations and individuals that create positive change in their communities.
This is more excellent news for Nathan Benderson Park, which has been making headlines lately. Everyone is excited to see how it will turn out, and is anxiously awaiting the World Rowing Championships in 2017. The international Olympic-level competition is expected to draw 42,000 fans and competitors and millions in economic impact to the region. The 600-acre park, which began as a dredging pit for road construction, is now a public park for Sarasota County and has hosted local and national regattas, triathlons and standup paddleboard races, among other sporting events.
Completion of the park’s boathouse and other structures is scheduled for Dec. 2014. Through private and public funding, the overall development at the park costs $24.5 million.