A billboard touting “a perfect time to visit” Siesta Key Village was scheduled to go up this morning, June 5, facing eastbound traffic on the north side of Bee Ridge Road at the McIntosh Road intersection.
The billboard is part of a threefold campaign to keep tourists and area residents heading to island businesses while the rehabilitation of the north Siesta bridge is under way, Siesta Key Village Association President Russell Matthes explained to about 20 members of his organization during their regular meeting on June 5.
The advertising initiative, which includes radio and some print ads, is costing about $24,000, Matthes said.
With the SKVA no longer having to pay for cleaning and maintenance in the Village, Matthes said, funds it had raised through its membership drives over the years could be devoted to the advertising effort. “I think it should be a successful campaign,” he said.
Matthes and the SKVA Board of Directors had utilized the assistance of member Bill Burns of Waterside Realty to prepare the copy for the advertising campaign.
The billboard would be up for only six months, Matthes said, adding that he hoped it would be effective.
Designed by Carol Magee, the billboard was supposed to have been put up June 1, Matthes said, but the heavy downpours that day prevented the work from taking place.
Regarding the work on the bridge, which was scheduled to begin the night of June 5, Matthes said, “It’s going to be interesting to see how that impacts us out here in the Village after 9 o’clock [at night].”
One lane will remain open at all times, he pointed out, with the work to be undertaken between 9 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Oct. 15.
Jennifer Stafford, an FDOT consultant on the bridge project, told The Sarasota News Leader she understood the contractor would not begin closing one lane until Monday, June 11.
Work will halt during the July Fourth and Labor Day holiday periods, Florida Department of Transportation representatives have noted.
If any SKVA member has concerns at any time about the bridge work and is unsure whom to contact, Matthes said, the person could get in touch with him and he would pass along the concerns to the appropriate people.
Details about the rehabilitation of the north bridge on Siesta Drive are available at www.siestakeybridge.com.