April 20, 2018 Edition


TOP STORIES:

City Commission agrees to joint meeting with School Board on May 8 to discuss extending hours School Avenue is closed on school days

Commissioners ask staff for background material to prepare them to address other issues, as well, including the potential vacation of School Avenue

The Sarasota City Commission has agreed unanimously to hold a joint meeting with the Sarasota County School Board from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. The topic will be a School Board proposal for extending the hours School Avenue is closed during school days in the area of Sarasota High School. (Read more »)


St. Armands organization wins City Commission approval to continue planning for new public restrooms

Architecture firm to be asked to revise options while city staff undertakes more research on annual upkeep expenses

The No. 1 complaint from visitors on St. Armands Circle is the lack of public restrooms, Diana Corrigan, executive director of the St. Armands Circle Association, told the City Commission this week. That is “one of the biggest black eyes” for the tony shopping district, she pointed out during the board’s regular meeting on April 16. (Read more »)


Resurfacing of Osprey Avenue between Bahia Vista Street and Siesta Drive scheduled for late spring

Sarasota County staff working to alleviate stormwater flooding issues in part of the area

Thanks to a unanimous April 16 vote of the Sarasota City Commission, Osprey Avenue will be resurfaced between Siesta Drive and Bahia Vista Street, starting sometime in late spring, after the school year ends. Gator Grading & Paving LLC of Palmetto won the contract with a bid of $1,475,869.05 — the lowest of six that the city received for the project. (Read more »)


Fresh Start Initiative to present ‘Quads’ proposals to County Commission on morning of April 25

Roundtable discussions earlier this month resulted in refined recommendations for uses of land adjacent to Celery Fields

During the morning session of the April 25 Sarasota County Commission meeting, the Fresh Start Initiative will present the first-round results of what its leaders call a “civic experiment in community-based visioning for public lands.” (Read more »)


Bay Tree Club residents not giving up on effort to see crosswalk installed on South Midnight Pass Road

Libby Sloan and Margi Ryder leading the charge to convince Sarasota County staff that the situation warrants action

Sometimes rules need to be broken for the greater good. That is the view residents of Bay Tree Club have taken in regard to a situation they believe literally involves life and death. And they are not going to give up until they have tried every means of getting the rules changed or at least bent. (Read more »)


Sale of 800 W. Perry St. property in Englewood wins reluctant County Commission approval

Commissioner Moran the harshest critic of past county staff actions leading to April 10 discussion

Sarasota County commissioners again have vented frustration over a loss of about $1.5 million in selling residential property in Englewood that the Englewood Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) purchased in 2007 with plans for creating a park. (Read more »)


Group working on concept for Sarasota bayfront plans to have final design recommendations and cost estimates ready for City Commission on Sept. 6

Future of the Van Wezel a key question in the community

With more workshops held this week — and more planned for May and June — representatives of the Sarasota Bay Planning Organization (SBPO) are working toward a Sept. 6 presentation to the City Commission that will feature final recommendations for 53 acres of property on and near the city’s bayfront. (Read more »)


Roundabout at Orange and Ringling nearing completion

St. Armands parking garage construction to start before end of April

The roundabout at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota “is nearing completion,” City Manager Tom Barwin reported to the City Commission this week. Staff anticipates having it open by May 1, he added. In the meantime, he asked residents to keep in mind that the shops and restaurants in Burns Square and Burns Court remain open. (Read more »)


Need for new roof and new air conditioning system for Sheriff’s Office’s new headquarters draws ire from County Commission chair

Nancy Detert says those should have been part of improvements seller paid for when county negotiated contract last year, instead of other items Sheriff’s Office sought

On July 12, 2017, the director of Sarasota County’s General Services Department explained to the County Commission that, this year, staff planned to refinance the loan the county used to purchase a new headquarters for the Sheriff’s Office. Staff anticipated issuing a 30-year bond, Jeff Lowdermilk said, with a projected annual debt service payment of $1,090,000. (Read more »)


Benderson Development affiliate granted another delay in beginning construction of light warehouse project in Fruitville Initiative area

Company working on plans for roundabout at Coburn Road intersection

Once again, the Sarasota County Commission has voted unanimously to give an affiliate of Benderson Development Co. extra time to begin construction of a 200,000-square-foot light industrial project at the intersection of Fruitville Road and Coburn Road. (Read more »)


Siesta Seen

Condominium Council expresses dismay over County Commission SKOD vote; commission chair suggests a change for Clayton’s Siesta Grille; public comment cards proliferate at hearing; crosswalk issue on Midnight Pass Road spurs SKA action; and Siesta business owner Chris Brown opens new restaurant and buys more property

In the wake of the Sarasota County Commission’s 3-2 vote on April 11 to allow an amendment to the Siesta Key Overlay District zoning (SKOD) regulations, the Siesta Key Condominium Council (SKCC) expressed its dismay to its members. (Read more »)


OPINION:

Cartoon of the Day

(Click on image to enlarge)


Commentary: Call it what you will, but it is ‘Magic Tape’

A homeowner finds a ready solution to myriad problems

Is it “duck” tape or “duct” tape? I have seen it spelled both ways, but I will just get right to my thoughts and call it “Magic Tape.” This ingenious product is holding my house together, room by room and wall by wall. Whenever I see something wrong that I cannot fix using the correct method, I race for the Magic Tape. I must be pretty resourceful because I have solved all kinds of household problems with it. (Read more »)


OTHER NEWS:

Photo essay: Bird time

Species mark the seasons

When Meta was little, we spent time at a friend’s house on the Chesapeake Bay. Living on the water was a new experience for her, but, a keen observer like most children, Meta soon pinned things down. She divided the year into “osprey season” (in summer they sat on buoys in the bay) and “grapefruit season” (in December the fruit arrived in local supermarkets). (Read more »)


Siesta Key’s Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest scheduled for Saturday, May 5

Cash prizes awarded in adult, youth and children’s categories

The annual Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest on Siesta Public Beach will be held on Saturday, May 5, for the 46th year, the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department has announced. (Read more »)


Community Canopy program returns to city of Sarasota

Registration for free trees to start April 23

The Community Canopy program, which gives away trees to help expand the urban canopy and reduce energy bills, will begin again in the City of Sarasota on Monday, April 23, the city has announced. In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, the city will provide 235 trees to residents at no cost, a news release says. (Read more »)


Gallup names Sarasota Memorial Hospital among world’s 39 best workplaces

To qualify, organizations had to meet ‘rigorous criteria’

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is one of just 39 organizations to win Gallup’s global Great Workplace Award, Gallup has announced. “The award honors the world’s best workplaces for creating an environment and culture that inspires employee commitment and engagement,” a Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) news release points out. (Read more »)


Westbound stretch of 10th Street between Central Avenue and Cocoanut Avenue to be closed as of April 23

City of Sarasota to undertake environmental infrastructure project to improve quality of runoff into Sarasota Bay

The westbound segment of 10th Street between Central Avenue and Cocoanut Avenue in the city of Sarasota will be closed to all traffic starting Monday, April 23, “while a significant environmental infrastructure improvement project is underway,” the city has announced. (Read more »)


Sheet piling installation to begin April 23 in Luke Wood Park as part of Lift Station 87 project

Residents advised that the activity will create noise and vibrations intermittently over six to eight weeks

Construction crews are scheduled to begin installing sheet piling at the Lift Station 87 site in Luke Wood Park in Sarasota the week of April 23, the City of Sarasota has announced. “Steel panels will be driven into the ground by vibratory hammers and drivers, so residents can expect to hear this activity intermittently over the next six to eight weeks during regular construction hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays),” a news release says. (Read more »)


Fitch, S&P affirm credit ratings for series of Sarasota County bonds used to pay for Sheriff’s Office facilities

County Commission approved issuance of bonds on April 11

Two series of Sarasota County bonds recently had their credit ratings affirmed by two global agencies, and one agency also affirmed the county’s AAA general obligation rating, the county has announced. (Read more »)