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Improvements include upgraded landscaping, lighting at night and signage around the exterior of the Visitors Center and the property’s Tamiami Trail frontage.
Sarasota Thursday, Apr. 14, 2011 4 years ago

Historic Spanish Point renovations planned

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by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

The front entrance of a house often sets the tone for the entire property. The board of directors at Historic Spanish Point views its nationally registered historic site and Visitors Center the same way.

“Our feelings are that it looks disjointed,” said Ann Moore, past board president. “So often, people see the Visitors Center, formerly the Osprey School, and they think that’s all there is to Spanish Point. The museum’s main draw is its bayfront location — 30 acres on the bay.”

The board announced this week a major capital campaign to fund a new entrance to the site, to be designed by Sarasota landscape architect David W. Young. Improvements include upgraded landscaping, lighting that will be visible at night and signage surrounding the exterior of the Visitors Center and the museum’s Tamiami Trail frontage. Flagpoles will also be installed to represent Spanish Point and Sarasota County. The project could begin as early as the fall.

The sign for Historic Spanish Point will be moved farther to the edge of property, near the Oaks Club, so drivers approaching from the north have more time to react and turn west into the Spanish Point property.
More than 90,000 children have visited Spanish Point since the school field-trip program began 25 years ago.

“You’re not really sure what’s there when you see a little schoolhouse, but people are always totally blown away when they walk back,” said Mary Evelyn Guyton, committee chairwoman. “We have some exciting things happening — treehouses for kids, a zip line for Spanish Point. We’re even working in conjunction with Bay Preserve and doing a joint wedding program with a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to have St. Mary’s Chapel.”

The final goal of the campaign is to raise a total of $350,000. Stephen Wilberding and his late wife, Ann, pledged $100,000 to help fund entrance and exterior improvements to the Visitors Center. As of April 5, the museum had raised an additional $90,000.

“Spanish Point is really a treasure that needs to be brought to attention,” Moore said. “We have the history, we just need to enhance it so it’s not the best kept secret any longer.”

Contact Loren Mayo at lmayo@yourobserver.com

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