February 17, 2017 Edition

SANCA seeking $5 million from Legislature this year for Benderson Park boathouse

Total cost of facility pegged at just under $15 million, with a future request of the state planned, Florida House document shows

The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA) has requested $5 million from the Florida Legislature to assist with the construction of a 60,000-square-foot boathouse for Nathan Benderson Park, a project estimated at $14,634,800, according to documentation state Rep. Joe Gruters of Sarasota has submitted to the Florida House. (Read more »)


Proposed update of state management plan for Myakka River State Park to be focus of March 2 meeting

Session planned at Suncoast Community Church in Sarasota

At 5 p.m. on March 2 in Sarasota, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) will host a public meeting to present its latest proposed update of the management plan for Myakka River State Park, the department has announced. (Read more »)


County commissioners assert commitment to purchasing the North Extension land for The Legacy Trail

Tentative contract calls for the county to pay up to a total of $40 million, in two phases, starting in December

The funding details remain to be worked out, but the Sarasota County Commission this week committed itself to finding a way to pay up to $40 million to acquire the 7.5 miles of rail corridor needed for the North Extension of The Legacy Trail. (Read more »)


Two programs helping the homeless in Sarasota County continue to produce success stories, county staff says

SHIFTS and Family Haven Alliance statistics provided; school district also working to aid homeless students

Amid the continuing challenges in addressing homelessness in Sarasota County, success stories have emerged — especially in regard to the Sheriff’s Housing Initiative Facilitating Transient Services (SHIFTS) program and the Family Haven Alliance, the County Commission has learned. (Read more »)


Roundabout construction at 10th and 14th streets to get underway in the fall, with City Commission agreeing to pay for enhanced lighting and landscaping

Board also votes to seek a state grant so the city can install counters to get better data on traffic volumes

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is nearing completion of its design work for the planned roundabouts at the 10th and 14th street intersections with U.S. 41 in Sarasota, with the projects set to get underway this fall. Therefore, in accord with the department’s timeline for advertising in April for construction bids, the Sarasota City Commission has approved funding and maintenance agreements with the state for enhanced landscaping and lighting — as well as for its share of the general expense — for the projects. (Read more »)


In approving another coastal construction variance for Casey Key property owners, county commissioners continue to call for tweaks of petition process

Commissioner Charles Hines emphasizes the stress applicants endure, even when non-habitable structures are the focus of their requests

With their most recent public hearing on a petition regarding building beyond Sarasota County’s Gulf Beach Setback Line (GBSL), county commissioners again voiced a willingness to provide staff more flexibility to approve certain types of projects. (Read more »)


New Englewood emergency communications tower will go on Sports Complex site after all

County commissioners thank staff for taking time to undertake more research, based on the board’s comments and questions in January

As originally proposed in January, a new emergency communications tower for Sarasota County will be erected on the site of the Englewood Sports Complex. However, two Sarasota County commissioners thanked staff for taking the extra steps the board requested last month to ensure that no better location for the structure was available. (Read more »)


Demolition of old Venice Public Library to get underway by mid-March, as a result of County Commission vote

Construction budget for the new facility increased to allow for ‘site soil sample investigation and foundation design’

With a unanimous vote on Feb. 15, the Sarasota County Commission approved a $354,360 increase in the budget for the new Venice Public Library, including $216,736 to have the old facility on the Cultural Campus in Venice torn down. (Read more »)


New hearing date set for North Beach Road vacation lawsuit filed by Siesta resident

Court allows Michael Cosentino to file a second amended complaint, which expands on arguments in his original suit against Sarasota County

A Feb. 13 hearing on Sarasota County’s motion to dismiss a complaint a Siesta Key resident filed over the County Commission’s May 11, 2016 vote to vacate a 357-foot segment of North Beach Road was cancelled on Feb. 8. The action came as a result of plaintiff Michael Cosentino’s Feb. 3 request for court approval to file a second amended complaint in the case. Judge Frederick P. Mercurio granted that leave on Feb. 10 and gave the county 20 days to respond. (Read more »)


Siesta Seen

Wastewater Treatment Plant decommissioning project on schedule; resident brings up another traffic factor related to Siesta Promenade; county could get FEMA help to repair Hermine’s damage to south Siesta; leaders of Key organizations opposed to Big Pass dredging dispute city manager’s comments; and a vehicle crash leads to DUI charges

Some concern arose last fall when a contractor ran into vibration problems in the Siesta Cove neighborhood as work was underway to install a new water line and a new sewer force main between Siesta Key and the mainland. (Read more »)


Jonathan Evans leaving Sarasota County to become city manager in Riviera Beach

Assistant county administrator’s last day to be March 3

Assistant Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Evans will be leaving his position to become city manager in Riviera Beach, the county has announced. (Read more »)


Orioles invite fans to attend Sarasota Springfest and Spring Training workouts at Ed Smith Stadium

SpringFest planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18; workouts run Feb. 14 through Feb. 23

The Baltimore Orioles are inviting all fans to celebrate the start of Spring Training by joining them for Sarasota SpringFest, a free family-friendly event for all ages at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 18. Along with watching players practice on the back fields, fans may enjoy games and interactive activities in the East Parking Lot, located next to the left field ticket office, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a news release says. (Read more »)


Public invited to comment on proposal for use of county RESTORE funds for Ted Sperling Park improvements

Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill settlement the source of the funding

Members of the public are being invited to review and comment on Sarasota County’s Multi-Year Implementation Plan for an improvement project at Ted Sperling Park that would use RESTORE Act funds, the county has announced. (Read more »)


Improvements near Centennial Park boat ramp to start later this month and conclude in May

Dredging of the boat basin also planned to start in early March

Late this month, the City of Sarasota’s Public Works Department will begin making much needed improvements near the boat ramp at Centennial Park, City Manager Tom Barwin announced in his Feb. 10 newsletter. (Read more »)


County celebrating Florida Archaeology Month with ‘Florida Lost Tribes’ exhibit

Free reception to be held at Chidsey Building in Sarasota on Friday evening, Feb. 17

Florida Lost Tribes, an exhibit featuring portraits of Florida’s original inhabitants, will open with a free 6 p.m. reception on Friday, Feb. 17, at the historic Chidsey Building in downtown Sarasota, Sarasota County staff has announced. (Read more »)


Sheriff’s Office donates computers to Boys & Girls Clubs

Equipment was seized during investigations into illegal gambling operations

This week, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office donated more than 60 computers to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, the office has announced. (Read more »)


Sarasota County earns another Keep America Beautiful President’s Circle Award

Honor accorded for the 14th year

Sarasota County has earned the Keep America Beautiful President’s Circle Award for the 14th year, “a designation that recognizes exemplary performance by certified communities in creating clean, green and beautiful communities,” the county has announced. (Read more »)


Historic Spanish Point celebrating ‘Love is in the Air’ with a number of special events

Orchid care class and Tea with Bertha among activities for Valentine’s week

Building on Historic Spanish Point’s role as a unique “old Florida” wedding venue, special romantic events and activities are being offered at the Osprey site over the next weeks, the site has announced. (Read more »)


County government offices to close Feb. 20 in observance of Presidents Day

Garbage and yard waste collections will not be affected

Most Sarasota County Government offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 20, in observance of Presidents Day, the county has announced. (Read more »)