+ Mall makes a splash with water-themed amenities
Officials of The Mall at University Town Center have announced some of the new facility’s amenities, including a children’s play area sponsored by Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
The children’s play area will have a sea life theme and will be located in the lower level by Dillard’s.
Other amenities include digital auto kiosks and car displays, at which shoppers can see and request information on Acura, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota vehicles, as well as a satellite visitors’ center sponsored by Visit Sarasota and hotel and shopping packages targeting out-of-state guests.
The mall, slated to open Oct. 16, will have 880,000 square feet of retail space with more than 100 stores and restaurants.
+ School District sued over security officer decision
A topic that has received mixed reviews from the community as well as the Manatee County School District is back in the spotlight.
Citizens for Sunshine attorney Andrea Mogensen filed a lawsuit against the district for hiring community security officials to serve area elementary schools.
The Sarasota-based nonprofit group advocates for public officials to abide by transparency practices spelled out in the Florida Sunshine Law standards. The group has sued the city of Sarasota in previous years for suspected violations of the law.
The group disagrees with the school district’s selection process for choosing a group to provide the security services and believes the board violated the Sunshine Law.
School Board members have discussed the issue of school security guards for more than three months at their public meetings.
Currently, unarmed security officers are still in place at each K-5 institution.
Manatee County School Board members will discuss the allegations at their Oct. 14 meeting.
+ Florida Balloon Festival canceled due to weather
Although the vendors were booked and the hot air balloons were ready for passengers, the inaugural Florida Balloon Festival is canceled.
Due to inclement weather expected to last through the weekend, and other factors, event organizers decided to call off the event.
The Florida Balloon Festival was scheduled for Oct. 3 through Oct. 5 at Premier Sports Campus.
Meetings & agendas
Manatee County Board of County Commissioners Meeting — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7, at the County Administrative Center, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton
Manatee County Planning Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 9, at the County Administrative Center, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton