+ City details its roundabout plans
City of Sarasota engineers and planners held three consecutive neighborhood meetings April 28 to inform the public on their plans for three roundabouts.
The first one built will be at Five Points. Construction will begin in August and be complete by late November or early December. The cost of the project is between $350,000 and $400,000.
The next project will be a roundabout at Ringling Boulevard and Palm Avenue. Construction is scheduled for late August, and completion is expected around Thanksgiving. The cost of that roundabout is about $400,000.
The third planned roundabout at Orange Avenue and Alderman Street does not yet have a firm schedule or cost.
+ Ritz-Carlton named top hotel
Travel Web site Expedia.com has named the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota the No. 1 hotel in the country and third best in the world for value and quality.
The Insider’s Select List compiled about 160,000 travelers’ opinions with those from the Web site’s own travel experts to rate more than 30,000 hotels and resorts around the world.
+ GOP contributions sharply decline
Financial contributions to the Republican Party of Sarasota County took a sharp drop in the first quarter of 2009.
Records show that the party collected $1,886.09 from January to March. During the same period, the Democratic Party of Sarasota County received more than $40,000.
By comparison, in the first quarter of 2008, the Republican Party brought in nearly $76,000.
Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party since December, said it was his first quarter leading the party and that he wasn’t focused on fundraising at the time.
He called this year’s contribution total insignificant.
“If you look at the first quarter last year, we had Mitt Romney speaking here, so that’s where a lot of that money came from,” Gruters said.
Next month, campaign adviser Ed Rollins will be in Sarasota for a fundraiser.
“You can expect to see $50,000 or $60,000 raised next month,” Gruters said.
+ Debra Torres steps down as director
Debra Torres has stepped down as executive director of the Downtown Partnership. Board chairman, Phil Chmieleski, said the economic downturn was making it difficult for the partnership to pay her salary.
“Our projections for donations were not being met,” he said.
He said Torres was aware of that fact and stepped down “to be noble,” so the partnership wouldn’t be as pressed financially.
He said the party’s first-quarter speaker this year, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, had to postpone his appearance until August.