Fruitville/U.S. 41 roundabout funding transfer formally approved by County Commission

Timeline calls for project to be completed by Oct. 1, 2021

A graphic shows tentative plans for the roundabout at the intersection of Fruitville Road and U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy FDOT

Among numerous items the Sarasota County Commission addressed during its last two meetings before starting its traditional summer recess, the board voted unanimously on July 11 to approve a funding agreement with the City of Sarasota for the design, right of way acquisition and construction of the planned roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road.

A county staff memo says the construction is to begin in 2019 and be completed by Oct. 1, 2021.

No one addressed the County Commission during the public hearing, and no commissioner asked for a staff presentation.

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo made the three-pronged motion, which included appropriating the $4,879,937.56 for the project and modifying the county’s Capital Improvement Program to reflect that action.

During its regular meeting on July 2, the Sarasota City Commission voted unanimously to approve the project, as well.

A county staff memo explained that on July 3, 1990, the county and the city entered into a Road Impact Fee Interlocal Agreement “providing for the collection of County road impact fees within the City.” Those fees were “to be used exclusively for developing projects” within or abutting the Sarasota Road Facility Service District, the memo added.

Then, on Oct. 1, 2014, the memo continued, an amendment to the interlocal agreement recognized that the city no longer would collect county road impact fees, as the city was implementing alternative mobility fees. After all the funds in the Service District Fund have been expended, the memo said, the interlocal agreement will terminate.

The Capital Improvement Program for the fiscal years 2018 through 2022 included the Fruitville/U.S. 41 roundabout, the memo noted. Thus, the county was transferring the $4.9 million to the city, so the construction could commence.

Traffic flows along U.S. 41 at the Fruitville Road intersection. Photo courtesy Florida Department of Transportation

The county’s Capital Improvement Program description for the project says a roundabout was determined to be “the best improvement [at the intersection] for multi modal connectivity.”

The city staff memo, provided in advance of that board’s approval of the funding transfer, explained that the roundabout is a joint project of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), GreenPointe Communities — the developer of the Quay Sarasota project in downtown Sarasota — and the city. In late 2016, when GreenPointe representatives won City Commission approval to proceed with the Quay Sarasota, they also discussed their plans to pay upfront for the roundabout. The July 2 city staff memo also noted that the city, in turn, had agreed to pay up to $5.5 million for the project, which is the amount FDOT has estimated the structure will cost. The city would reimburse GreenPointe, city staff pointed out.

The Quay Sarasota plans call for condominiums, a hotel and commercial and office space on the site, which is on U.S. 41 between Fruitville Road and Boulevard of the Arts.