By Sharon Hillstrom
Good news can be hard to find these days, and during the holiday season, I’m even more intent on finding – and sharing – it. Particularly, I’m sharing the good news about Manatee County and the amazing things happening here.
Each year we highlight accolades and achievements that contribute to the Bradenton area’s quality of life and our ability to attract and retain businesses and jobs in Manatee County. Here are a few examples we compiled for our 2018 Highlights video, sponsored by the City of Palmetto’s Redevelopment Agency.
The Milken Institute named the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota metro sixth in the nation among the best-performing large cities. Milken noted that our region gained 20 places, topping the chart in 12-month job growth, beating out economic powerhouses around the country.
When we produced the video, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) had added more than 20 direct flights, and that number has continued to grow. SRQ is more than an increasingly convenient transportation asset that is adding airlines and flights. It’s a hub that helps us attract more aviation-related businesses and is a valued partner in our global recruitment to bring jobs to Manatee County.
Employment in the Manatee-Sarasota market is projected to grow nearly 14 percent over the next eight years, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. That forecast outpaces Hillsborough County’s rate of 11 percent.
A community is more than its economic factors, so we also highlight the quality of life assets. Manatee County’s food and entertainment scene has taken onconsiderable diversity in recent years, and the talents of local food andbeverage companies are getting noticed. Forbes magazine quoted a Brewers Association ranking that places Bradenton-based Darwin’s Brewing Co. among the 50 fastest-growing craft breweries in the nation.
Fun is a huge factor in attracting working-aged people to the community. The recent sold-out Bradenton Blues Fest is a terrific example of place-making events hosted in Manatee County. In our highlights video this year, we recognized ArtSlam, another Realize Bradenton event, for bringing arts out of the classroom and into the streets of downtown Bradenton.
And because people want to live here, communities like Lakewood Ranch can earn top honors. Real estate consulting firm RCLCO named Lakewood Ranch the second top-selling, master-planned community in the nation.
We also showcase the region’s educational institutions that are essential for quality of life, developing and retaining a skilled workforce, and attracting companies that are looking for the complete package in locating their business. Recent accolades that caught our attention included recognition for Ringling College of Art & Design, Manatee Technical College, State College of Florida, Manatee County high school students, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, and LECOM.
Please help us spread the word by posting the video on your social media platforms. Show your friends, clients and employees why this is a great home for you, your family and your business. You’ll find the 2018 Highlights video online at www.BradentonAreaEDC.com/videos.
In fewer than three minutes, watching this video will enlighten your thinking and remind you why Manatee County is a great place to live and work. Join us in sharing the good news.