New Park Adds Zip to West Bradenton Homes


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, June 19, 2018 – Bradenton real estate properties around Ware’s Creek just west of the Bradenton downtown area now have an added plus factor on their values, following the opening of the new John & Rebecca Neal Park in early May.

This new park is located off north of 9th Street West across the Ballard Elementary School and backing up to Ware’s Creek. It is part of the four-parcel, 2.5 acres in this creek-side area that the city purchased at cost from the Neals in 2015. Designed as a “passive” park, it now functions as a community garden with 47 plots and a red barn-style tool shed. Under a city-approved community garden contract, each of such plots could be taken with a $20 purchase which is refundable when the gardeners give them up.

Popular Community Feature

John & Rebecca Neal Park

Significantly, community gardens are becoming quite popular locally. In Sarasota, there are already eight, and more are being established in Manatee County, a model for which has been established at the Lincoln Middle School in Palmetto.

The popularity of having a community garden has likewise picked up even in the higher-end neighborhoods of Lakewood Ranch. Appropriately enough, one has already been set and thriving in the master-planned development’s Greenbrook neighborhood where there are 32 plots eagerly taken by its residents.

For practical reasons, community gardens are likewise sprouting in so-called “food deserts,” a trendy reference to urban places where fresh produce is not readily available. Overall, the interest in setting up community gardens has grown because they could contribute to a close-knit community, bringing together residents with a common interest though they may be of different generations or ethnicity.

Urban Kayak Route

Ware's Creek Dredging

A similar benefit from a shared community interest can be said of the other main feature of the new John & Rebecca Neal Park—a kayak and canoe launch on Ware’s Creek. While there is already an abundance of paddlers’ bases in Manatee County, as well as in Sarasota, Ware’s Creek does offer something unique on its five-mile stretch.

For one thing, it is a less-traveled waterway for paddlers and thus provides a different experience while at the same time enabling kayakers and canoers to enjoy snippets of Old Florida sceneries. Important for novice paddlers, local kayak experts say that tackling Ware’s Creek is safer because its waters, though winding, are shallower and less turbulent.

It also helps that an extensive, $57.8 million dredging and clean-up was undertaken along Ware’s Creek a few years back. Its completion now makes it now more ideal to paddle on this creek than ever before, aside from the mitigation of local flooding achieved from the project. This development is a vital step for Bradenton, as it reflects what’s happening right now in Tampa where kayaking in urban waterways is gaining in popularity.

Beyond the new creekside park of West Bradenton, real estate industry players would be closely watching the remaining three parcels of land in the Ware’s Creek area that the city has acquired. Earlier plans call for platting these into eight or nine lots for new residences that should be prime additions to the still-thin inventory of Bradenton homes for sale.