Paul Thorpe Jr. Park and Lemon Avenue improvements to be showcased during grand re-opening on March 6

Event planned from 5 to 8 p.m., with complimentary refreshments, music and guided tours of the improvements

Paul Thorpe Jr. Park has new features designed to enhance its attraction to residents and visitors. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Everyone in the community is invited to a block party to celebrate the grand re-opening of Paul Thorpe Jr. Park and Lemon Avenue on Friday, March 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., the City of Sarasota has announced.

The event will be held at Paul Thorpe Jr. Park, which is located at 135 S. Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota.

The free festivities will feature live music, refreshments and guided tours of the improvements in the park and along Lemon Avenue, a news release says.

The block party will begin in Paul Thorpe Jr. Park and extend onto Lemon Avenue between State Street and Pineapple Avenue, which will be closed to vehicular traffic during the event, the release adds.

“Started in May 2019, the Lemon Avenue Streetscape project was designed to create a more pedestrian-friendly experience in downtown Sarasota,” the release explains. “From Main Street south to Pineapple Avenue, the existing roadway, sidewalks and curbs were removed and replaced with decorative brick pavers, new landscaping and streetlights,” the release notes. “Medallions also were handcrafted in three intersections along Lemon Avenue: Main Street, State Street and Pineapple Avenue.”

“These improvements enhance the pedestrian experience and provide a sense of place in downtown,” said city Planning Director Steve Cover in the release. “This environment will attract people who want to stroll, shop, eat and simply enjoy the experience of being in a pedestrian-friendly downtown. That was the vision when the Lemon Avenue Streetscape was first conceptualized. Now that it’s complete this really helps make downtown Sarasota that much more special, a place people want to be,” he added in the release.

“Paul Thorpe Jr. Park was modernized with the installation of pavers, additional trees, seating areas and an impressive trellis, where visitors can walk under flowering vines,” the release points out. “The whimsical mermaid fountain remains a focal point of the park.”

A graphic shows the overall plans for the South Lemon Avenue/Paul Thorpe Jr. Park Project. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

“This park is a perfect tribute to Paul Thorpe, known as ‘Mr. Downtown,’ said City Manager Tom Barwin in the release. “It is guaranteed to become a popular gathering area for residents and visitors to the Farmers Market or downtown employees seeking a place to enjoy being outside. Paul would be truly excited about this area being enlivened and transformed into a downtown destination for all,” Barwin added. “We thank everyone involved with this gorgeous project.”

“City staff worked closely with downtown businesses to minimize construction impacts,” the release says. “Staff also coordinated construction timing with The Mark,” a new mixed-use development at the intersection of Lemon Avenue and State Street.

As part of the grand re-opening celebration, The Mark’s public art contribution formally will be unveiled, the release notes.

Brick’s Smoked Meats and the Sarasota Farmers Market will provide complimentary light refreshments, the release says. The block party also is sponsored by Jon F. Swift Construction and Kolter Urban LLC.