The campaign to elect Richard O’Brien for Mayor of Bradenton applauds Realize Bradenton, the Downtown Development Authority, City staff, volunteers and the Ambassadors who worked hard to make the Riverwalk opening a success. The new renovation to our waterfront adds activities and ‘destination’ charm as a first step of many in improving our City. Mr. O’Brien and his family joined the hundreds of people that came out to experience and enjoy Bradenton’s newest attraction.
Mr. O’Brien has had some criticism of the project, aside from the costs, in the timing of this grand opening. It seems too much of a coincidence that after almost five years of no improvement activity around the city that all of these improvements would arrive just before the mayoral election. In light of the fact that the Mayor undemocratically extended his term an additional year, this timing cannot be a coincidence.
The Mayor has benefited from what amounts to a $15 million campaign war chest on the voters’ credit card. A few examples of expensive projects conveniently timed right before election time: the $6.2 million Riverwalk, $7.5 million baseball seat improvements at McKechnie Field, and $1 million for the promised Pink Palace project. The record shows practically no activity for the first 4 years of his term. The Mayor’s attempt to convince voters that he is working to improve the City, by borrowing money from them and spending it for media opportunities just before the election, shouldn’t fool the voters of Bradenton.
While the Riverwalk will likely benefit the public, Bradenton needs new leadership from someone who is more fiscally responsible and won’t wait years to begin city improvements.