20160212-12 Feb 2016

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Downtown Sarasota Whole Foods store to undergo renovations

Whole Foods in Sarasota Norm Feb. 5 2014 smallThe popular Sarasota grocery has been called a catalyst for downtown revitalization, having been established before many of the condominium complexes began rising nearby

After 12 years, the downtown Sarasota Whole Foods Market will be getting an updated look, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. The grocery — known locally as a catalyst for downtown revitalization before condominium complexes began multiplying near it, and even seen nationally as an early model for urban grocery projects — is slated to undergo renovation this year. (Read more »)

County to negotiate with City of Venice on using Hamilton Building as temporary library

HamiltonBuilding via scgovCounty Commission also directs staff to undertake further testing to determine whether a new facility can be built on the site of the closed Venice Public Library

While some Sarasota County staff members negotiate with the City of Venice on leasing the city’s Hamilton Building as a temporary library space, others will be working to obtain a final assessment of whether a new library can be built on the site of the facility that closed Jan. 30 because of concerns about mold. (Read more »)

More federal money available for affordable housing programs, but State House and Senate far apart on recommended allocations

Draft 2016-21 Consolidated Plan funding chart for BCC Feb. 10 2016County Commission approves latest draft of funding priorities for the housing assistance plan it and the City Commission will submit to the federal government

About $40 million more in federal funds for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP), which helps make affordable homes available, will be coming to the state this year than last year, Don Hadsell, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development in Sarasota, told the Sarasota County Commission this week. (Read more »)

Three seats still unfilled on county affordable housing committee

Commissioner Christine Robinson Oct. 28 2015 RBHThe director of the Office of Housing and Community Development tells the County Commission he will continue seeking applicants, as the committee must deliver a report to the commission by June 30

The Sarasota County Commission this week appointed eight individuals to a committee that oversees affordable housing initiatives, but three seats remain open because of an insufficient number of applicants meeting the specific criteria for the positions. (Read more »)

With FDOT/CSX negotiations stalled, future of Legacy Trail’s north extension rests again with the county

Legacy Trail entrance at Palmer Ranch April 6 2014 Norm smallFDOT secretary recommends to commissioner that county staff proceed from where it left off last year

On Feb. 1, the Sarasota County Commission received an update from staff saying the Florida Department of Transportation was continuing to negotiate with CSX over the purchase of approximately 100 miles of railroad corridor — including the piece needed for the north extension of The Legacy Trail. (Read more »)

Two Sarasota County neighborhoods consider designation as historic districts

CONA audience 1 Feb. 8 2016 RogerRepresentatives from Indian Beach Sapphire Shores and Gulf Gate said during the Feb. 8 CONA meeting that their neighborhoods are considering applying for the status

Nationally and locally designated historic districts can strengthen property values and preserve significant architecture, the immediate past manager of historical resources for Sarasota County told a community audience this week. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

A drawing shows how a dredge hopper works. Image courtesy Carteret County Government, N.C.

Egging incidents reported in one neighborhood; the Coast Guard issues a Notice to Mariners in advance of the dredging for the South Siesta Renourishment Project; and the SKA gets a new board member

With reports of Siesta homes having been egged over the last weekend in January, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is searching for two perpetrators described as possibly 15 or 16 years of age, Sgt. Jason Mruczek told about 70 members of the Siesta Key Association. (Read more »)

No word yet on when federal agency will respond to state’s last questions on Lido Renourishment Project

Big Pass between Lido and Siesta Google mapsSiesta Key Association vice president offers hope that county staff can work with city staff on amending the permit application and commends the work of multiple organizations opposing plan to dredge Big Pass

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is still at work on its response to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s second request for information regarding the proposal to dredge Big Sarasota Pass to renourish Lido Key Beach, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Parks Department’s mission statement should be guide for priorities, County Commission says

Dave Barth BCC Feb. 9 2016 TVA consultant seeks direction as part of the latest step in Sarasota County work on a Parks Master Plan

As a consultant this week sought direction from the Sarasota County Commission about how to prioritize parks projects over the next five years — given anticipated funding limitations — Commissioner Christine Robinson had a succinct suggestion. (Read more »)

County Commission agrees to update appraisal of Orange Hammock Ranch

Orange Hammock Ranch fact sheet map Jan. 26 2016 BCCEffort requested by Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast as it works to purchase the property; North Port Chamber to explore changing its stance on the acquisition proposal

The Sarasota County Commission agreed by consensus this week to a request from the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to update the county’s 2010 appraisal of the 5,774-acre Orange Hammock Ranch property near the City of North Port. (Read more »)

SBA loans available for those affected by tornado and other severe storms

Excelsior Gulfside parking area tornado damage Jan. 19 2016Facility opened Feb. 9 in Bee Ridge Park; after it closes on Feb. 18, applications still may be submitted by mail

Businesses and residents affected by the severe storms and tornado in Sarasota County Jan. 15-17 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the agency’s administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, announced on Feb. 5. (Read more »)

Ministerial Association to host service honoring first responders

9:11 Venice first responders 2012Event to be held at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12 in Payne Park

The Sarasota Ministerial Association will hold a service in Payne Park on Friday, Feb. 12, during which government representatives, businesspeople and “members of the social service and faith communities will form a ‘thank you line’” to present commemorative coins to the community’s first responders, the Association has announced. (Read more »)

Orioles teaming up again with county on Big League Reader Program

Bird and a female fan via scgov Feb. 2016Children 6 and older invited to read books this month to earn the opportunity to attend the Spring Training game on March 12

Sarasota County is once again going to bat with the Baltimore Orioles and the Big League Reader Program to encourage youth leadership and foster a love of reading, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Registration under way for county’s fifth annual Pickleball Slam

Pickleball-Slam-courtesy-scgovEvents will take place March 23-25 in Englewood, Sarasota and Laurel

The Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department is accepting registrations for its Fifth Annual Pickleball Slam, which will be held March 23-25, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Animal Services offering reduced adoption fees this month

American_Bulldog_by sannse via Wikimedia CommonsShelter encouraging prospective ‘pet parents’ to consider pit bull mixes, which are ‘normally gentle when cared for properly,’ Animal Services personnel say

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services division is offering reduced adoption fees for the month of February “to help its canine shelter residents find forever homes,” the office has announced. (Read more »)

Water Quality Task Force volunteers plan Siesta Waterway work on Feb. 13

Waterways team for Siesta Feb. 13 2016South Venice Civic Association group partnering with Sarasota County to improve the handling of waterway maintenance

The South Venice Water Quality Task Force has announced that the next Siesta Waterway workday is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (Read more »)

City Finance Department honored with trio of professional awards

John Lege IIIJust 21 local governments in Florida earned all three awards the city received

The City of Sarasota’s Finance Department was honored recently by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada with three prestigious professional awards, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Teacher of the Year finalists surprised at three schools

1-Khea Davis surprised by Lori White at BHS 2-9-16-2A March 22 event will name the honoree from among them

Teachers at three public schools in Sarasota were surprised on Feb. 9 when they were revealed as the Sarasota County School District’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year finalists during the annual Teacher Tribute Tour, the district has announced. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota to close offices for Presidents’ Day

City of Sarasota logo in commission chambersWeekly garbage and recycling collections will remain on normal schedule

City of Sarasota administrative offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 15, in observance of Presidents’ Day, the city has announced. “Weekly garbage, yard waste and recycling collections will not be impacted,” a city news release stresses. (Read more »)

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