Longtime residents and business owners often separate Longboat life into “before the Holiday Inn closed” and “after the Holiday Inn closed” in describing the impact of the loss of 146 tourism units.
The last chapter of the Holiday Inn began in March 2003.
That’s when about 60 Holiday Inn employees learned the hotel would end operations in September.
Then, March 14, 2003, developer Bob Glantz filed paperwork for the development of the luxury 29-unit Positano condominium with the town.
The predictions about the impact of the closure in the March 20, 2003, Longboat Observer were probably pretty accurate: Less traffic, along with fewer customers for local businesses.
+ At the center of the storm
Hurricane season was two-and-a-half months away, but March 12 and March 13, 1993, Longboat Key found itself at the center of the storm, when a no-name storm struck the island.
The storm caused flooding and destroyed new landscaping along Longboat Club Road and the island’s golf courses. Other signs of destruction: Carports fell apart with cars underneath them, and a 27-foot sailboat that broke loose from its mooring and crashed into a fishing pier in the Ringling Causeway.
+ You drive me crazy
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Longboat Observer often ran gripes in “Our Town” about the habits of Gulf of Mexico drivers, particularly during peak season. As usual, readers helped us out, frequently writing to us about their biggest pet peeves.
On March 9, 2000, the Longboat Observer ran a list of the top-three entries in the “Worst Driver on Gulf of Mexico Drive” contest:
• The driver who suddenly stops in his lane to point out a landmark to his passenger.
• The driver who hits a top speed of 32 mph as he crosses New Pass Bridge and maintains that speed the entire length of the Key.
• The driver with the cell phone, who in order to use it, must take his eyes off the road. (Editor’s note: Remember, this was in the days before text messaging.)
+ Town Hall came tumbling down
In a single day in the second week of March 2002, Longboat Key Town Commission Chambers and the Longboat Key Police Department were destroyed.
The destruction wasn’t the result of a hurricane or other natural disaster. It was all part of a plan for a new Town Hall. It took 14 months to complete the Town Hall and new police department structures.