News Section: Local Government
West Bradenton Womanís Club/13th Avenue Youth Center to Receive Historical Marker
BRADENTON -- The Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources Historic Marker Commission approved an historical marker to commemorate the West Bradenton Woman’s Club and 13th Avenue Youth Center at 201 13th Avenue West in Bradenton. This will place the site on the state registry of historic places. It is the first Manatee County site on the registry with great significance to African American history.
The West Bradenton Woman’s Club and 13th Avenue Youth Center served as the educational, recreational, cultural, and social hub of the African American community from 1935-2010. The West Bradenton Woman’s Club was formed in 1911. In 1935, the Club moved to this location, which was owned by the City of Bradenton, and designated as play space for African American children.
Local residents Minnie L. and G.D. Rogers were close friends of civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune, who in turn had a strong relationship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Through these relationships, the federal National Youth Administration (NYA) provided labor and funding in the mid-1930s to expand the existing Woman’s Club building and community recreation center. The center served as a gathering place for youth and adult sports, social events, educational activities. In a time when there was no other recreational option available to African Americans, the role of both the West Bradenton Woman’s Club and the Youth Center is deserving of this designation.
Central Community Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Polk, commented on the designation, saying “This is indeed an honor for the State of Florida to recognize Minnie L. Rogers and other historical contributors, who aided in the building and expansion of the Club and Center for the greater good of African American residents of Bradenton. This marker is a true testament of the perseverance and forward thinking of the individuals that were involved in making and shaping history for the good of all our people and our children that it served.”
“We are honored that the Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources has approved this historical marker for our community. The thousands of lives that were impacted by the programs and services that were offered at that site were invaluable to this community and should never be forgotten,” said Patrick Carnegie, Executive Director of the 13th Avenue Community Center.
The original West Bradenton Woman’s Club building, built in 1922 and moved to the site in 1935, was destroyed in a fire in 1984. The center addition, built with National Youth Administration funds in the mid-1930s, was demolished in 2001. The second youth center building (built c. 1950) was demolished in May 2012 to prepare the site for the Minnie L. Rogers Plaza and Retail Center, after the 13th Avenue Community Center moved to its new location at Norma Lloyd Park in June 2010.
This historical marker is part of a series of investments in the Minnie L. Rogers Plaza and Retail Center. The plaza will have a 16,000 square foot Sav-A-Lot grocery store; 9,600 square feet of retail space; and public art that visually depicts the history and significance of the site.
A community redevelopment area of the City of Bradenton, the Central Community Redevelopment Agency was created in July 12, 2000 under the authority of sections 163.330-163.45 of the Florida Statutes and funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue as a special taxing district of the City of Bradenton. Charged with the redevelopment of a district designated as neglected and blighted, this designation provides the CCRA a dedicated funding source to support targeted economic development projects and allows the CCRA to leverage outside funds to expand the reach of the TIF revenue.
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