MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Plans are in the works to redesign and revitalize downtown Palmetto.

The organization Palmetto Downtown Main Street presented its vision for the area to the city council last month. Its goal is to attract more people and businesses to the area and create a community connection for visitors to experience, while also maintaining its history.

What You Need To Know

  • Plans are in the works to redesign and revitalize downtown Palmetto

  • The goal is to bring in more people and businesses, while maintaining its history and small town vibe

  • Mayor Bryant said changes will begin as soon as next year

After a blighted property issue years ago, Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant says they want people to experience the best of the city of Palmetto.

“We still, and hopefully will always, have a small town atmosphere. But at the same time, you do have to have redevelopment and revitalization. And that’s where this downtown main street group comes in,” she said.

It’s the history and small-town feel that has drawn people to the area for years.

“I’m sure the city of Palmetto will keep the historical spiritual presence in downtown Palmetto. All of the city commissioners are from here. They know what Palmetto and the neighborhood are about,” D Aksu said.

Aksu and her family quickly embraced that small-town vibe when they opened their family restaurant D’s Breakfast and Burgers in 2016.

“These photos were originally on the wall when our family found this beautiful building, which is over 100 years old. Which is priceless. Everybody has memories over here,” she said. “People who were born here spent all childhood. Then, when they were all grown up, they come here to build up their own family.”

As part of the project, the organization wants to appeal to those families by planning more festivals and events to promote culture, art, and food. They hope to redesign the city’s website and social media to reach more people. And they plan to ask residents to volunteer their time and skills to enrich downtown.

“You don’t have to have a business to help the city’s plan with Palmetto. This is our community,” Aksu said. “We will do our best to bring families under this roof, which will bring the community together.”

Cooperation from everyone could bring new life and visitors to downtown, relying on the people of Palmetto to build a brighter future.

The mayor said changes will begin as soon as next year.