Sarasota, Florida -- Governor Rick Scott recently toured a new multi-million dollar rowing facility in Sarasota.
Nathan Benderson Park is currently constructing facilities needed to become North America's premier competitive rowing center.
Last year, $5 million was set aside by state lawmakers for the center and Scott vetoed it, but changed his mind and approved the funds this year.
In the past, he called it "turkey", but now says supporters of the center have convinced him of its economic benefits. In the past two years, Scott has allowed $10 million towards the project in state funding. The total cost of the center is estimated at $40 million.
The governor said campaign contributions from the center had nothing to do with his decision to approve the state funds.
"The project made sense. They showed me the economics of it and we're going to get all those tourists here, spend money, move their businesses here and buy some homes here."
The center is expected to host the world rowing championships in future years. In fact, on Aug. 5, the FISA Council announced it is formally recommending the park host the 2017 World Rowing Championships.
"We are extremely pleased
that FISA is recommending Sarasota-Bradenton as the site for the 2017 World
Rowing Championships", said Sarasota County Commission Chair Carolyn
Mason. "Sarasota County has a long history of hosting major sporting
events with great success and we are eager to show the world our amazing
community and world-class rowing venue."
According to estimates, county officials say the 2017
World Rowing Championships could attract more than 42,000 visitors from 62
countries to the two-week event.