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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 1 year ago

People to watch: Ann Frescura

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The incoming Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce executive director brings a unique perspective.
by: Jack Short Staff Writer

In November 2015, Ann Frescura was chosen out of a dozen applicants following a six-month search as the new Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce executive director.

She comes to an island that’s experiencing record tourism and  has earned numerous accolades, including a TripAdvisor No. 1 rating for Siesta Public Beach.

Frescura started her new role at the beginning of January, after nine years at Downtown Springfield Inc., in Springfield, Ill. The role of DSI, she said, is to be a “mini-chamber of commerce” for the downtown area.

Chairman-elect Mark Smith said Frescura stood out in part because the chamber sought someone who could promote tourism because the chamber often functions as a visitor center.

Among the challenges Frescura can expect: balancing the strong commercial presence on Siesta Key with the needs of residents, while maintaining — or possibly expanding — the chamber’s role as an events team.

Frescura said event expansion and community outreach were part of her job at DSI. Springfield’s downtown area, she said, is a small, like Siesta Key, and residents, businesses and large events all share that space.

Frescura said she’s likely to explore opportunities with arts communities and farmers markets. She will also seek to add a family-friendly component to chamber events and activities, such as a children’s art festival.

“If there’s a program where children can learn and play and explore, that’s rewarding,” she said.

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