- July 31, 2013
Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells looked out at the crowd assembled Jan. 18 for the ribbon cutting of the new Lakewood Ranch substation at 14544 Arbor Green Trail.
"I don't know if you are aware. but this county is growing," Wells said with a laugh.
Indeed, people have heard. Lakewood Ranch was the second-best selling master planned community in the United States in 2018 with 1,479 new home sales. People are coming.
Wells is thrilled with the new substation, which was made possible by a collaboration of the Sheriff's Office, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and Lennar.
"It's been our goal to have an important presence in this community," Wells said. "And we will continue building. This is only the beginning."
Lennar provided subcontractors, labor, materials, equipment, and coordination to complete the substation from the original four trailers it had leased and built together to form a sales office for its Lakewood National neighborhood. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office will lease the building from SMR, which owns the land.
"We needed to get more resources out here," Wells said of the Lakewood Ranch area. "We also don't want people to have to drive 20 miles (to the main Sheriff's Office building at 600 Highway 301 Boulevard W., Bradenton). Some people won't make that drive to report things, and we need to know what is going on."
Capt. Tony Williams will be in charge of the new substation, which will have 15 deputies and supervisors assigned to the site.
Williams said the SWAT team and Canine Command now will use the Lakewood Ranch substation as their headquarters.
"This is beautiful and needed," Williams said. "It's important because I think some people are old school, like me. They like to meet face-to-face when they are reporting something."
Rex Jensen, the CEO and president of SMR, said the new location is a perfect fit for the Sheriff's Office.
This is a huge win for the community," Jensen said.