Where DeSoto landed on Florida’s shores …and nobody was really excited about that
Manatee County, Sarasota County’s neighbor to the north, has a population of almost 300,000. The southern part of the county intermingles with Sarasota County; the northern section of the county is already part of the “Greater Tampa Bay Area“. “Manatee” – yes, you are right – the county’s name derives from those gentle creatures floating in the warm waters of the river and the Gulf of Mexico.
Manatee County is rich in history
The Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto discovered the area in the mid-1600s. He and his fellow conquistadors came up the shores of the Manatee river and found a beautiful area suitable for vacationing – but no gold. At that time vacationing was not en vogue although the area was inviting and looked like a big resort. Several months later, the “first European Tourist” left Florida disappointed and with empty pockets. There had never ever been the slightest evidence that El Dorado could be located in Florida.But what can you do about perception?
200 years later not so greedy pioneers settled in the Manatee River area, and in 1855, Manatee County was “unofficially” founded. The road was a little bumpy at the beginning, but in the 20s and 30s of the next century, there was a rapid growth in population.
Bradenton is a busy City
Today Manatee County, with the city of Bradenton as the seat of the government, has a thriving business community offering good jobs and excellent business opportunities. The overall population consists of younger people and young families with kids. A nice side effect is that while the businesses are growing the communities are prospering, too.
In addition, the beaches, natural preserves and parks, popular area attractions and superb shopping destinations do a good job as well. They are attracting many visitors from all over the world and they are “spending their money like drunken sailors“.
Although the Sarasota/Bradenton Airport is per se an international airport, the performance is still disappointing. Very few international airlines could have been convinced to use this airport as one of their destinations so far. The two major international airports in Tampa and Fort Myers siphoning many passengers up. However, that is really no reason to stick the head in the sand. SRQ must do better and management has still a lot on the plate to get the job done. They should talk to the people who manage the Punta Gorda airport. They almost doubled their traffic volume.