Lemon Avenue Streetscape project to kick off on May 13

Sarasota city manager points to key facets of timeline and project website

Jason Swift, president & CEO of Jon F. Swift Construction of Sarasota, discusses the project during a stakeholder meeting the week of April 29. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota

Improvements on Lemon Avenue planned “to create an even more vibrant and pedestrian-friendly downtown” will begin on Monday, May 13, the day after Mother’s Day, City Manager Tom Barwin is reminding the public.

“At the request of downtown merchants, the start date was scheduled to coincide with ongoing construction at The Mark [condominium complex], but after Mother’s Day when most seasonal residents and tourists have left town,” Barwin wrote in his May 3 newsletter.

“City staff and [representatives of] our contractor, Jon F. Swift Construction, met with downtown stakeholders earlier this week,” Barwin continued in that May 3 newsletter. They went over the planned phases and tentative work schedule and also emphasized that “public parking spaces will remain open to the public and will not be used by construction workers on this project,” Barwin added.

“Phase I (May 13 to approximately mid-June) will include creating a new brick walkway for pedestrians on the east side of State Street,” across from the Gator Club, Barwin noted. That walkway will resemble the Lemon Avenue plaza just to the north. “All businesses will remain accessible to pedestrians,” he stressed.

Some important tentative dates to keep in mind are as follows, Barwin added:

  • Mid-June to mid-July: The Lemon Avenue/Main Street intersection will be closed to vehicular traffic.
  • August to September: The Lemon Avenue/State Street intersection will be closed to vehicular traffic.

“Please understand these dates are tentative and may change,” Barwin wrote.

By late fall — and continuing through December — improvements will be underway at Paul Thorpe Jr. Park, he added.

With more people visiting and living year-round in downtown Sarasota, Barwin pointed out, the Lemon Avenue Streetscape “will create a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment for residents and an inviting sense of place,” designed to draw visitors, he wrote.

Additional project information is available at www.lemonavenuestreetscape.com.

After construction begins, Barwin added, the website will be updated approximately every two weeks until the project has been completed.