A Beach is Born
Before cars, roads or even McKechnie Field, there was just a white sandy beach on the western coast of Florida. In 1911, a couple of savvy businessmen decided to make the beach and the island something more. Charles Roser and George Bean came together to build Anna Maria City Pier. Just a year after the pier, they built the local bathhouse next to the pier. Soon enough, the area around Anna Maria City Pier and the bathhouse were the place to be on the beach. Visitors would come from all around for a nickel-priced can of Coke, a scoop of ice cream and a swim in the clear Gulf waters. While a can of Coke might run you more than a nickel nowadays, the Bradenton Area has stayed true to the authentic beach experience it was founded on – thanks in large part to the sustainable practices of the entire Bradenton Area.
Sustaining the Area
Recent efforts have made sustainability even more a part of the Bradenton Area’s DNA. In 2007, the Pine Avenue Restoration Project – led by Bradenton Area natives Ed Chiles, Michael Coleman and Ted LaRoche – turned the strip of the island into what’s become known as the Greenest Little Main Street in America. The 100-year-old cottages that lined the street were refurbished with rainwater collection systems, solar panels and plenty of touches that stay true to the island’s vibe. The renovations led to a platinum LEED certification and now Pine Avenue actually generates more energy than it uses. And it’s just the start of the resurgence of more sustainable practices in the Bradenton Area.
Enjoying the Sustainability
Sustainability in the Bradenton Area is more than rainwater collection systems and solar panels. It’s the experience you have while you’re here. On Pine Avenue, those energy-saving cottages act as stores and restaurants. Stop in AMI Outfitters to pick up a fishing pole or some new beachwear. Or go in Shiny Fish Emporium to let your inner kid out. And you have to stop for a maple bacon donut at the famous Anna Maria Donuts. But Pine Avenue isn’t the only place you can experience sustainability. Farms like O’Brien Family Farms, Mixon Fruit Farms and Dakin Dairy Farms all utilize forms of sustainable practices. Even better, you can stop by for the U-Pick berries or leave with some fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice. Dine at local restaurants like Sandbar Restaurant and Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant to know that every bit of your meal is prepared sustainably. Even Bradenton’s Bunker Hill Winery uses100% recycled bottles. It’s our responsibility to leave the Bradenton Area as nice as we have found it for future generations. But it’s also important to have plenty of fun. Thanks to the sustainable practices throughout the Bradenton Area, we can have the best of both worlds.