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Manatee County officials to break ground on 88-acre Washington Park

When complete, Washington Park will be largest community green space in the Palmetto area

MANATEE COUNTY – Manatee County leaders will break ground on the long-awaited Washington Park atop a former borrow pit on 88 acres in Palmetto next week. Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department will host a ceremony to commemorate the start of the project on Wed., July 28 at 3 p.m.

The park, being built in phases, is located at 3011 8th Ave. E., Palmetto. Visitors to the groundbreaking are asked to enter from 8th Ave. E. and follow the signs to the parking area. There will be remarks by elected officials, Port Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff and community partners. Light refreshments will be provided by Stantec.

The first phase includes a central pavilion, a children’s play area, and a multi-use field. Manatee County Commissioners have committed $2.75 million in Infrastructure Sales Tax dollars and Community Development Block Grant funds to develop the park’s recreational amenities.

The second phase of the project, being spearheaded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will bring 1 million cubic yards of dredged material from Port Manatee over the next decade to fill in 20 acres of a former borrow pit creating a passive park and nature preserve. That project began earlier in 2021 and it will bring a contoured landscape with walking trails for recreation along with stormwater quality improvements. The the Corps project moving infill from the Port will save the County more than $10 million in equivalent costs had the partnership not been realized.

When complete, Washington Park will be the largest recreational community green space in the Palmetto area.

“The residents of Palmetto and District 2 have waited a very long time for this moment and I know people are excited to have Washington Park come to reality,” said District 2 County Commissioner Reggie Bellamy. “I’m so appreciative of the many people who worked diligently for many years to make it a reality.”

"The community has come together to maintain their vision and faith in support of the Washington Park and Preserve," said Dr. Scott Hopes, Manatee County Administrator. "My appreciation goes directly to the community, the Army Corps of Engineers and our Board of County Commissioners who have recognized the value of important partnerships to create what is and will be a beautiful community asset."

The future community park is located north of Palmetto, just east of U.S. 41. In 1957, the Florida Department of Transportation removed dirt from the site to build the U.S. 41 overpass near 29th Street East.