+ DID hopes to make ‘big splash’
The board of the Downtown Improvement District (DID) received a cost estimate for beautification work it is seeking in downtown Sarasota.
Scott Buttari, landscape architect with Wilson Miller, prepared a wide-ranging plan that includes such things as replacing all groundcover, building sidewalk bulbouts in front of three restaurants and adding hanging flower baskets to all light poles.
DID board members will review the plan, choose which items they wish to see completed and report back to Buttari July 7.
Ernie Ritz, DID vice chairman, said his preference is to do all the landscaping work first, which would cost about $70,000. But the full board will have to decide on the project list.
“I’d like to pick something that will make a big splash,” said Ritz.
+ Parking ban extended in Gillespie
The Sarasota City Commission extended a front-yard parking ban for Gillespie Park and may expand it into the Park East neighborhood.
When a front-yard parking ban was instituted in the Gillepsie Park neighborhood last July, some residents criticized it as an assault on the poor and minorities in the community.
But since that time, Gillespie Park residents have generally complied with the pilot program with few complaints, according to city staff.
Two dozen $25 tickets have been written for violations, and only two of those tickets were challenged.
+ Budget process begins with warning
As Sarasota County begins its budget discussions for the 2010 fiscal year, County Administrator Jim Ley issued a warning.
“We can’t continue funding shortfalls with additional funds in the coming years, without an increase in revenue or a reduction in expenses,” said Ley.
With estimated 2010 expenditures of $262 million and revenues of $227 million, the county will once again use additional funds, such as fuel savings and lower-than-estimated spending in 2009, to offset the expected $35 million shortfall.
Ley expects the next several years to also have expenditures higher than revenue.
“The expectation that service levels can be maintained is not a realistic expectation,” he said. “Service levels will need to be redefined or additional revenues will need to be developed.”
In a June 11 article, it was incorrectly reported that the Longboat Key Club and Resort purchased Café on the Bay, at the Longboat Key Club Moorings. The club purchased only the land and the building, which formerly housed the restaurant.