Construction of Bird Key Park is in its final stages.
According to Neil Gaines, projects manager for the city of Sarasota, the city is currently working on its “punch list” for the park — the final list of details that need to be addressed. But, at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, the city will celebrate the re-opening of the park at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of major construction, which began in April.
But the weather has gotten in the way of a few details.
Cones are currently in place in the parking area, where sod had to be re-laid in the past couple of weeks after heavy rain.
“It was kind of like the perfect storm,” Gaines said. “The sod hadn’t had a chance to set, and it was too much, too fast.”
And the cold weather damaged some plants, such as buttonwood trees and shrubbery, not just in Bird Key Park, but throughout Sarasota.
“We’ve had some significant cold weather and will have to see if these plants come out from cold damage,” Gaines said.
Last week, the city did a walk-through of the park to finalize plans.
The park project is part of the Bird Key portion of the West Bayfront Multi-Use Recreation Trail (MURT), which will connect the existing Bayfront MURT to St. Armands and Lido keys. The Bird Key phase generated controversy after park users worried that the plan would interfere with water sports and the bayfront view. In November 2009, the Sarasota City Commission approved a motion ordering city staff to go forward with plans for the park in two phases.
Lou Costa, secretary/treasurer of the Bird Key Improvement Association, said that comments about the park upgrades have been positive.
“We have received nothing but kudos about how it looks from the residents,” he said.
Lido Key is the next phase of the West Bayfront Multi-Use Recreation Trail (MURT). According to Gaines, bids for the project will open Feb. 17, and the city hopes to begin construction March 15. Construction will likely span between five and six months.
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