HOLMES BEACH – Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore told the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce b oard last Wednesday that the county is interested in getting rid of rental agents who are not delivering on their promises.
The Anna Maria Island Sun reported two weeks ago that the Holmes Beach Police Department is looking for Mike Carlton, owner of Coastline Accommodations, for taking a woman’s deposit money for a place to stay on her vacation and then not having a place for her stay when she got to the Island. The woman told police she could not get Carlton to respond to her calls.
Whitmore said they had heard of another customer having a problem with a rental agency, Anna Maria Vacations. She said she talked with Linger Lodge co-owner, Tjet Martin, who had heard of other instances as well. Whitmore said once somebody gets here, it’s almost impossible to provide last minute accommodations.
“Last year, we had a bunch of emergency places to stay, but you know how crowded it is this year,” she said. “If you hear of any other problems, let me know.”
WORLD ROWING TOURNEY
In other business news, Whitmore said the county is close to becoming the site for the world rowing championships.
“We have staff who just returned from Copenhagen where they followed the selection process,” she said.
“The awards will be presented in September in South Korea,” said County Administrator Ed Hunzeker, who also attended the meeting. “We have a staff of people aboard to keep our name out in front, and we are in the lead for the final award Nov. 5.”
Whitmore added there would be up to 42,000 attendees for the awards with 2,000 contestants.
“The Harvard Rowing Team was here recently to practice on the Manatee River,” she added. “We’re trying not to stress the Island with all these events and to spread them out.”
Hunzeker and Whitmore also talked about Feld Entertainment, producer of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and other productions, which has moved its headquarters to Manatee County. Feld bought the old Siemens building and is spending millions of dollars to refurbish it.
“They will employ 700 people when they get everyone here,” Hunzeker said.
The county has a new program to get input from everyone on how the county should grow over the next 30 years. He said there are three options: continue to expand the population into the suburbs, which he referred to as “urban sprawl”; grow the cities, which would obviously not include the cities on Anna Maria Island; and develop activity centers where the population could work and live to reduce the expense and time needed to commute. He said the program is available for the Chamber to use and he offered to have someone come out to present it.