Reflecting on 2019

The year 2019 is coming to an end as I write, and as a goal-setter, I like to look back and think about the things I am most proud of and what I could have handled better. Every year it is hard to take time to give these things the proper reflection, as my life moves at a pace that sometimes feels like the speed of light, but each year I silently remind myself of the importance of finding some quiet time to reflect. Because, while we move forward each day with the best intentions, life can only be understood when we think about it in hindsight.

Our boys, Joaquin and Marc, are now on active military duty and I’m writing just days before they will arrive home for Christmas. Both have told us it is unlikely they will make it home for Christmas next year. While our daughter Alexandra lives in Bradenton, she is frantically busy with graduate school and working, and there is little time to spend together. Our children are now adults, and they have each developed their own philosophies and opinions, which are not always the same as mine. I’ll admit that I occasionally stop myself from offering them unsolicited advice and try to remember that offering them a warm and loving connection may be more important than my opinion. My husband spends the work-week in Pasco County, returning home only for weekends and holidays, and all of this reality underscores the importance of the coming weeks for me, as it may be the last time for a long time that we are all together.

As I reflect on my first year as a County Commissioner, I realize I have learned a lot, and there are two things that stand out: 1. Listening is more important than talking, and 2. keeping emotions in check is easy if you don’t take things personally. 

Being an elected official allows me to interact with many people, and some come to me with a problem or complaint. Sometimes their problem makes them angry and difficult, which can naturally place me on the defense. But each time I am reminded to take a breath, refocus my perspective, and to try and understand what they are feeling. I have come to realize this past year more than ever before, the importance of understanding other perspectives. I’ve found that when you try to understand each other, it is easier to bring compassion to the discussion rather than judgement. And if you didn’t already guess, being on the commission can sometimes feel like a crazy rollercoaster, but I’ve learned that being open to other ideas is how we build paths to walk together instead of putting up walls that stop us dead in our tracks. 

I am proud of what I, along with your help, accomplished as a commissioner in 2019.

Here are some highlights:

1. The creation of the District 4 Citizens Coalition on Growth, to add more voices to the discussion of how our community should grow. This was a campaign promise that was my first priority.

2.Adoption of the public safety ordinance was a big win, which will not only reduce panhandling, but hopefully reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities on our roadways. 

3. Our Board unanimously supported the adoption of a massage parlor ordinance in an effort to eliminate nuisance businesses that are straining our resources and contributing to human trafficking in our community. 

4. Many residents in Pride Park will soon receive surveillance doorbells thanks to in an effort to increase safety, and our Sheriff’s Office has taken a lead role in this effort. 

Looking ahead, I am excited to work with our Code Enforcement Department and our major landlords in 2020 in an effort to develop a program together to foster community pride in our neighborhoods.

I believe that one of the keys to making sense of all of our relationships is to continue to expand our perspective from “how I feel” to “how others feel.” This shift removes the narrow blinders of our comfortable view, and widens our vision, sometimes to an uncomfortable place. Whether my role is a county commissioner, a mother, and even a spouse or friend, this shift has helped me when seeking to understand others.

As we begin the year 2020, I pray we can all take some time to savor the joys and sorrows of the past year and open our minds to the opinions of others as we build our future. And while we think about what is important, let us also broaden those thoughts to consider what is important not only to ourselves, but to our family, coworkers, and our community. Let’s make 2020 the best year yet!

Misty Servia is a Manatee County Commissioner who represents District 4.

You can reach her at

WBMA Wins Competitive Grant

WBMA Wins Competitive Grant


Whitfield Estates Historical Marker

A new historical marker will replicate the design of our existing marker near the bay and highlight our neighborhood’s rich history east of the Trail.

WBMA Wins Competitive Grant!

By Norm Luppino

Just as our newsletter was going to press, we received the wonderful news that our Association was awarded a Neighborhood Enhancement Grant in the amount of $6,362.65!

The grant, which is administered by Manatee County government, requires the Association match the County’s contribution through both cash outlay and sweat equity by our residents.  Projects include adding new historical and entrance markers and the general maintenance of our public landscape triangles – such as trimming palm tree and re-mulching.

The grant application process was quite cumbersome and fiercely competitive as many Associations throughout the county vied for the limited funds.  However, through the hard work and expert writing skills of WBMA directors Carole Martin and Julie Grossner, our Association prevailed.  Great work ladies!



SRQ Demos Old Tower

SRQ Demos Old Tower

SRQ Demos Old Tower to Make Way for New Development

The demolition of SRQ’s old air traffic control tower in September was the final step in preparing the north endof the airfield for future development.  The tower was vacated in June of 2018 and was emptied of hazardous materials like asbestos in preparation for the demo.  The actual demo took only 3 days, but a week was spent sorting through the materials for recycling.

The standalone building, built in the mid 80’s, had no base building to accommodate any administrative functions.  It was open daily from 6 a.m. until midnight and only closed during the threat of a hurricane.  It was 88 ft tall and consisted of 6 floors plus the top cab.  The cab housed the air traffic controllers where they monitored airplane activity on the airfield and within 5-10 miles of the airport.  An average of 15 – 20 people worked there daily, and records indicate that during the life of the tower, controllers guided approximately 5 million planes to and from SRQ.

The function of the air traffic control tower requires that the top floor be completely free of any obstructions that would prevent a 360-degree view of the airspace from the cab, therefore, the tower’s elevator only went to the sixth floor requiring controllers to climb a very steep stairway to access the cab.

Construction cost of the new air traffic control tower was approximately $25 million and funded by the FAA, FDOT and the Airport Authority.  It stands taller, extending 135 foot above ground, and improves the line-of-site across the airfield.  The FAA began operations in the new air traffic control tower in June of 2018.

Allegiant Airlines and SRQ

Allegiant Airlines and SRQ

At SRQ Business is Soaring with 37 Nonstop Destinations

Allegiant Airlines and SRQ announced Tuesday, September 13, that they will add an additional 8 nonstop
flights at SRQ beginning in November of 2019. The new destinations include, year-round service to
Knoxville, TN (TYS) and seasonal service to St. Louis/ Belleville, (BVL), Chicago/Rockford (RFD), Des
Moines, IA (DSM), Flint MI (FNT), Fort Wayne, IN (FWA), Louisville, KY (SDF) and South Bend, IN (SBN).
Traffic continues to increase at SRQ and was up 48.7% for the month of June over June 2018. The new
nonstop routes are expected to bring nearly 54, 000 passengers to the Sarasota/Bradenton area

“The success of Allegiant Air in the short time that they have been in our community has been a major
drive of that increase,” said airport president and CEO Rick Piccolo.
Allegiant alone has generated over 228,000 passengers and $138 million economic impact in our
community. In late 2018, ultra-low-cost carrier, Frontier also began service at SRQ and in 2019, legacy
carriers, United and American added flights. The additional service by all the carriers has not only made
fares more affordable but has also had a $309 million economic impact on our community.

Update on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s)

Update on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s)

On June 20, 2019, a public hearing was held with our Manatee County Commissioners to discuss ADU’s for Manatee County.  ADU’s are one way Manatee County is trying to address the lack of affordable housing in our area.  As we’ve discussed in our meetings, newsletters, and emails, the vast majority of you are opposed to ADU’s in our neighborhood for a myriad of reasons including size, parking, flooding, short-term rentals, lack of code enforcement and much more.

You showed up and they listened!  Thank you to all the WBMA members that showed up for the County Commissioners Meeting.  We had approximately 50+ people in attendance and had over 290 ballots turned in that opposed the ADU’s.

Our County Commissioner, Misty Servia, led the charge voicing many concerns regarding ADU’s and after much discussion and debate the day ended with Stephen Jonsson (Chair) saying “We need to do a lot more work and keep the people informed”.  A motion was made to “Take no action and go back to staff to hold a future board work session on the suggested revisions from today”.

This is a great example of what can happen when our association gets together with a common message and takes action.  Thanks for showing up and voicing your concerns!  We’ll continue to keep you informed as we get additional information.

I hope to see you at the July Meeting!

Bill Espy

Read the Herald Tribune Article Here