20170811-11 Aug 2017

County seeking $10-million state grant to complete segment of River Road improvements needed for access to planned Atlanta Braves stadium

West Villages Improvement District chair says he anticipates receiving preliminary certification of a $20-million state sports grant before end of August

As part of its years-long effort to complete improvements to a 13.5-mile stretch of River Road, Sarasota County is seeking a $10-million Florida Job Growth Fund grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Staff cited $12 million as the cost of the 0.75-mile segment it could complete with the money, with the county covering the $2 million in right of way expenses. (Read more »)

Opponents of North Beach Road vacation say County Commission did not have all the information it needed about the road’s history before its vote last year

Owner of property on the vacated road segment says state would not allow the improvements for which Reopen Beach Road advocates

The Sarasota County commissioners did not have information about previous discussions of staff and their predecessors regarding potential repairs to North Beach Road when they voted 4-1 last year to vacate a 357-foot segment of it, a supporter of Reopen Beach Road told about 65 people attending the Aug. 3 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting. (Read more »)

County administrator to recommend on Aug. 29 that County Commission agree to resetting of the base year for the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area

Tom Harmer also provides formal notification that he will discuss a proposed $2.6-million Downtown Sarasota CRA settlement with his board

In a letter the City of Sarasota received on Aug. 7, Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer wrote City Manager Tom Barwin that he would make the County Commission aware of the city’s request for $2.6 million to settle a dispute over a final county payment into the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)

Friends of The Legacy Trail inks agreement with county to work on fundraising for the North Extension

Naming rights and sponsorships to be pursued

As Sarasota County staff continues to work on acquiring the property for the North Extension of The Legacy Trail, the County Commission has approved an agreement that will enable a nonprofit organization to raise funds for the project through naming rights and sponsorships. (Read more »)

About 74% of calls for EMS assistance to homeless people have originated in city of Sarasota so far this year

Past three months of data do show declines for those calls in the city, year-over-year

Although the figures for the past three months show declines compared to the same months in 2016, the majority of calls for EMS service to homeless individuals still are originating in the city of Sarasota, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

City Commission reaffirms plan for decorative lighting within and between roundabouts to be constructed on U.S. 41 at 10th and 14th streets

Mayor votes against the plan, citing a state miscalculation that could lead to the city’s having to pay more than expected

Given their desire to enhance the North Tamiami Trail as the gateway into the City of Sarasota, the majority of the city commissioners recently reaffirmed the willingness to pay for decorative lighting between the two roundabouts planned at the 10th and 14th street intersections and within the roundabouts themselves. (Read more »)

Judge asks attorneys involved in Lido Renourishment Project hearing to propose new dates by Aug. 18

Plaintiffs and respondents make their expert witness lists known

The state administrative law judge who will hear challenges to the Lido Renourishment Project has given the attorneys in the case until Aug. 18 to propose potential new dates for the start of the proceeding. On Aug. 3, Judge Bram D.E. Canter granted the request of the lead counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), who sought a delay of at least eight weeks in the hearing because of the counsel’s need to undergo surgery on Aug. 4 for an injury. (Read more »)

37 Sarasota County organizations to benefit from arts and cultural programming grants

County Commission awards almost $2 million for events and productions that will take place in the 2018 fiscal year

Sarasota County Commissioners Nancy Detert and Charles Hines practically paraphrased a decades-old advertising slogan as their board unanimously awarded a new set of arts and cultural grants this year: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Reopen Beach Road executive director overstates number of valid signatures on petitions; Cosentino establishes a new foundation; SKA launches survey on paid parking at the beaches; Siesta Isles experiences change in installation method for new sewer pipeline; and Calle Minorga parking lot plan on hold

During the Aug. 3 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting, the new executive director of Reopen Beach Road, Mary Anne Bowie, told the approximately 65 people present that the nonprofit has more than 7,000 signatures on the two proposed Sarasota County Charter initiatives it launched last year. That figure actually is a bit overstated, The Sarasota News Leader learned on Aug. 7. (Read more »)

Travel on one’s own can lead to meaningful and memorable experiences with a group

If you want to remove stress from the single-tourist scenario, many companies can help

Group vacations: an oxymoron if ever there was one. How could you spend many long months saving for your dream vacation, deciding upon your dream destination and then realizing that the most feasible and economical choice in your planning is to take an escorted tour? (Read more »)

Community presentation on Paul Thorpe Jr. Park master plan scheduled for Aug. 16 at City Hall

Improvements to Lemon Avenue between State Street and Pineapple Avenue also planned

The public is invited to attend a community presentation on the proposed master plan for the Paul N. Thorpe Jr. Park and the Lemon Avenue Streetscape on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. at City Hall, city staff has announced. City Hall is located in downtown Sarasota at 1565 First St. (Read more »)

Dedicated right-turn ‘slip lane’ under construction at Fruitville Road/U.S. 41 intersection in Sarasota

Weather permitting, city manager says, FDOT hopes to complete the work in a few weeks

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has begun construction of the planned “slip lane” at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin pointed out in his Aug. 4 newsletter. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Schools launches new mobile app

Device available for free from Apple and Google Play

In conjunction with the start of the 2017-18 school year, the Sarasota County School District has introduced a new mobile app to help keep parents and community members informed about district news, events and other information, the district announced this week. (Read more »)

Renovated restrooms open in Eloise Werlin Park at Hart’s Landing on Sarasota Bay

Ernest Werlin spearheaded the project and covered most of the expense, Sarasota city manager reports

Renovated restrooms have opened in Eloise Werlin Park, located at Hart’s Landing near downtown Sarasota, City Manager Tom Barwin reported in his Aug. 4 newsletter. The improvements are a result of the generosity of philanthropist Ernest ‘Doc’ Werlin, for whose late wife the park is named, Barwin noted. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota Purchasing Division accorded prestigious honor by national institute

For third consecutive year, staff has won Achievement of Excellence in Procurement

The City of Sarasota Purchasing Division has been awarded the 2017 Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement® Award from the National Procurement Institute, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Wendel begins work this week as Sarasota County’s new procurement official, filling vacant position

She helped lead Manatee County to national recognition for public procurement practices

Melissa Wendel has been hired as Sarasota County’s new procurement official, the county has announced. “Wendel has more than 20 years of experience in procurement, including the past eight years with Manatee County Government, where she has served as purchasing official since 2011,” a county news release says. (Read more »)

Interested persons encouraged to serve as county water stewards after taking UF/IFAS program

Eight-week course to begin Sept. 12

“Water is essential to our very existence, but we often overlook the importance of protecting and preserving our limited supplies,” staff of Sarasota County’s University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Extension and Sustainability (UF/IFAS) division says in a news release. (Read more »)

County’s Comprehensive Plan receives another statewide honor for excellence

American Planning Association’s Florida Chapter to bestow the award at conference in September

Sarasota County has received another statewide honor for its Comprehensive Plan, “this time picking up the Award of Excellence from the American Planning Association’s Florida Chapter,” the county has announced. (Read more »)