The benches were painted by students from Gullett Elementary, Nolan Middle School, Lakewood Ranch High School and Manatee Technical Institute, as well as three local professional artists. The professional artists painted benches on behalf of the Lakewood Ranch YMCA, The Manatee County Board of Commissioners, The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce—each, one of the many groups important to the Lakewood Ranch community.
“We created Central Park to fit the Lakewood Ranch lifestyle with the community feel we remember as children,” says Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities. “It is a neighborhood designed for walking, enjoying nature, tossing a Frisbee in the park and watching the friends play a casual game in the baseball field. People know their neighbors and watch out for each other.”
The eight benches will be placed within the village’s focal point—a ten-acre park that includes butterfly garden, nature paths, dog parks, splash fountains and a ballpark. Since the community—and especially the park—is themed after New York’s Central Park, the benches and are a key component and important element to the park’s overall look and feel.
The professional artists are:
1. AnnMarie Nicholas who also painted the Neal Communities’
2. Janet Mishner, a Lakewood Ranch resident and artist (visit www.janetmishner.com)
3. Sarah E. Taylor, a Ringling Graduate who has painted geckos for GeckoFest, as well as murals and large sculpture pieces, painted the Manatee Chamber of Commerce’s bench. (http://setstudios.blogspot.com/
Central Park will host grand opening events the weekend of July 17 and 18. The benches will be dedicated at the press conference event on Thursday, July 15 at 9:30 am. Each bench will have a small plaque honoring the group that created or inspired the bench’s design.
The village, which is the first residential neighborhood north of State Road 70 in Lakewood Ranch, is being developed by Neal Communities. It is located on the east side of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, across from the Lakewood Ranch High School and YMCA. B. D. Gullett Elementary School is on 44th Avenue, just across from the community’s north entrance. At completion, there will be about 800 homes in the 379-acre village.
Neal Communities is ranked #1 locally by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence based on number of home sales and #126 among home builders nationally in BUILDER Magazine’s 2009 listing based on sales. As the area’s largest and most established locally owned and operated private builder, Neal Communities’
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Neal Communities is Southwest Florida’s largest, most established locally owned and operated private company. Its commitment to responsible development, innovative home building, and design excellence serve as the benchmarks for the company’s success.