A plan to bring one of the world’s largest super boat races to Charlotte County is moving forward, despite criticism from locals about what it could do to the secluded, quiet area. Organizers are now making some adjustments to help ease the expected flow of 80,000 people this April on a stretch of land home to less than 2,000 residents. This past spring, Charlotte County Commissioners moved the plan forward with Super Boat International organizers. Leaders are gambling $250,000 over two years, hoping the event will provide a positive economic payback. “We have 27 different committees working on everything from parking to safety to security,” said Charlotte Harbor Super Boat Grand Prix President Jerry York.
York said they’re going to ease crowds by prohibiting all parking on Manasota. They’ll bus people to and from Englewood beach during the races. “We knew it was going to be a challenge from day one,” he said. “Manasota Key is very small.” It’s the first time Englewood will see an event of this size. “I think it would be great, personally,” said Englewood resident, Emma Shelton. Others said they moved here to get away from large crowds. One residents told us “to have it less than what it is, quiet, would be upsetting at the least.” The county has also received complaints about how this event could affect wildlife — organizers say air support will constantly monitor the Gulf. Organizers expect the three-day event starting April 11 to boost millions into the local economy.