I have the distinct pleasure of being on the board of directors of the Siesta Key Village Association and the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., as well as being chairman of the board for the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. I have lived and had my architectural office on Siesta Key for the past 18 years. This gives me the unique perspective of both a resident and a business owner on Siesta Key.
Siesta Key Village Association
The Siesta Key Village is doing great. The businesses had a wonderful summer, thanks to Siesta Beach being the No. 1 beach in America. What always brings a smile to my face are the families that crowd onto the front porch and sidewalk of Big Olaf’s in the early evening, no matter the weather, and the sidewalks bustling with people, heading to and from the different restaurants and shops. The sounds of laughter and music filling the air make Siesta Key Village one of the happiest places you’ll visit in Sarasota County. I love this place.
Always looking for new ways to attract visitors to Siesta Key, the SKVA is exploring the possibility of installing an electric-car charging station in the Village. The charging stations have GPS locators that enable people cruising down the interstate to check their smart phones for the locations, see if the stations are in use and reserve charging time.
It takes around two hours to charge a car for a nominal fee that will offset the electric bill. This is another way to put Siesta Key on the map.
Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp.
The Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. consists of all the property owners in the commercial district that makes up the Village. Since the completion of the Village beautification project in 2009, which created the brick sidewalks, street medallions and the gazebo, it has been the SKVMC’s responsibility to oversee the maintenance and upkeep of the Village.
Last week the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners voted on a modification to the ordinance that governs the maintenance of the Village. This is the first step necessary for the county to issue a request for proposals to firms interested in the daily tasks needed to keep the sidewalks clean and the landscaping thriving.
Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
2011 was one of the most successful years the chamber has had. Membership is increasing, and the overall business climate is looking positive in this tough economy.
Last year’s Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition brought two-dozen of the world’s best sculptors to our beach for a week of unbelievable artistry. This event draws tens of thousands to Sarasota County and is estimated to bring in more than $2 million to the local economy. Proceeds from the Crystal Classic made possible a $30,000 donation to the Mote Marine Turtle Program.
The Siesta Key Chamber-sponsored annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration was again fantastic. Most people don’t realize that the cost of the fireworks, $33,000, is paid entirely from sponsorships and attendance at the picnic at Siesta Beach; no tax money is used. So, please remember that and frequent the shops and restaurants that make it all happen.
Siesta Key is an island paradise that some of us are blessed to work on and be able to call home. We can never take it for granted, and we must all participate any way we can to keep our island No. 1.
Mark H. Smith is a Siesta Key architect and long-time board member of various island organizations.