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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 5 years ago

City sets its two-year priorities

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Because Newtown redevelopment has been the city’s top priority for the past two years, city commissioners wanted to make sure when they set their priorities for the next two years that the rest of the city’s neighborhoods didn’t feel slighted.

“By (making priorities) geographically, you have (other parts of the city) saying, ‘What are you doing for us?’” said Mayor Dick Clapp.

So, this year, instead of making Newtown a single priority, the commission put different components of Newtown redevelopment into its other top priorities.

“We’ve done so much with Newtown,” said Clapp. “We’ve got real momentum there, and I don’t want to see that minimized.”

Newtown’s commission representative, Commissioner Fredd Atkins, supported the move, but made it exceedingly clear that the city needs to let everyone in Newtown know that they are not being dropped as a priority, just shifted.

“We have to try to keep (Newtown) from feeling they’ve lost their place,” Atkins said.

The city’s priorities, in no order, are economic development/recovery, transportation, budget, environmental sustainability and quality of life.

Each of those areas has a number of objectives that the city wants to achieve in 2010 or 2011.



1. Economic development and recovery
• North Trail redevelopment
• Reduce bureaucratic roadblocks for businesses
• Explore selling the parcel next to the Palm Avenue parking garage

2. Transportation
• Develop a plan to build U.S. 41 roundabouts at 10th and 14th streets
• Develop alternative SCAT routes to integrate the comprehensive plan
• Study the creation of a downtown transit connector

3. Budget
• Emphasize current salaries rather than benefits and deferred compensation
• Find the most cost-effective structure for Van Wezel
• Explore the use of surveys to give City Hall the community’s opinion on issues

4. Environmental sustainability

• Possibly transform waterfront rights of way into small parks
• Develop the proposed City Greenhouse Carbon Emission Reduction Action Plan
• Increase the visibility of the sustainability program and director

5. Quality of life
• Address the homeless issue
• Develop community-oriented police strategies in the most-needed areas
• Support initiatives for education and employment of adults in Newtown

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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