Bill Evers Reservoir (Ward Lake) is a very nice and attractive lake. It is owned by the City of Bradenton and provides water supply and recreation. It is on the Braden River.
The County of Manatee has provided a very nice recreational facility called Jigg's Landing located at the east side of the lake. Canoes and boats can be launched from Jigg's Landing.
Honore Avenue borders the southern border of the Lake. But the area is fenced and the lake cannot be seen or used by local residents. To see or use the lake requires an over 5 mile drive.
We propose that Manatee County develop a park on the south boundary of the Lake on Honore Ave. The County already owns property in this location and with a small effort the County could create a nice park that would provide an attractive area for the people near Honore. We propose the name Honore Park.
Jiggs Landing can be seen in the north east corner of the Lake. The proposed new park would be at the south east corner of the Lake with access from Honore Avenue.
The map below shows how residents who live near Honore must now travel to get to the Lake. The new park would lower the distance by over 5 miles. Bikers and walkers could easily get to the lake.
Photos of the Lake taken from Jigg's Landing looking across the lake towards the proposed Honore Park.
The map below shows the location of the proposed Honore Park. People living west of I-75, north of University, and south of State Road 70 would benefit from the park and convenient access to the Lake.
The outlined parcel below is owned by Manatee County. It fronts on Honore Avenue and has a small detention pond on the west end. If is also very close to the Lake. Land on all sides of the parcel is owned by the City of Bradenton. The County could easily create a small park in this location with nice overlooks and access to the Lake.
Bradenton has announced that they intend to sell the 200 acres just west of the Lake and bordering Honore to Taylor Morrison Homes. Now would be an excellent time for the County to work with the developer to design a park with the design of the development. So options for the County are:
1. Take no action.
2. Create a small park on County owned land.
3. Work with developer to develop larger lakefront park.
An additional benefit of acquiring some of the land along the lake is for the protection of the water, since this lake is used for public water supply for residents of Manatee County. It is better to have land that drains directly into public water supply as natural as possible, with little direct drainage from lawns and their fertilizer.
We are forming a Committee to explore this potential park. We ask that the County Board explore the possibility of an acquisition of a small park on the site.
The County could work with the developer to incorporate the small existing County detention pond into a larger detention pond that would also be a park adjacent to the lake.
Jigg's Landing is a very nice Manatee County Park. A list of Amenities at Jigg's Landing is listed below:
- Picnic areas and pavilions
- Concession stand
- Wildlife viewing areas
- Nature-themed Playground
Kayak/Canoeing: A new handicap accessible canoe/kayak launch is located at the site. The launch gives paddlers access to the entire Braden River and its freshwater system.
Picnicking: Available at the various sites throughout the preserve on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Pavilion: The picnic pavilion is available by reservation on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can reserve a pavilion online or by calling 941-742-5923.
Wildlife Viewing: Visitors can view a variety of birds and wildlife throughout the preserve in the restored native ecosystems.
The following amenities will be added to Jiggs Landing as it develops:
- Interpretive signage
- Kayak concessions
- Bicycle concessions
- Food, bait, and drink concessions
Manatee could create a nice small park on Honore with access and views of the Lake.
Contact Craig Hullinger at email@example.com if you have comments or concerns or if you would like to help make this park a reality. craighullinger.com