Sarasota City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo last week unveiled an ambitious vision for the former site of GWIZ on the bay front — a Disney World-esque castle.
The proposal came during a mock commission meeting Thursday, as sons and daughters of city staffers posed as the "KidsTown Commission." After selecting a mayor and vice mayor, KidsTown City Auditor and Clerk Rachel Mallett, with some help from Sarasota City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini, led the group through the agenda, which included tackling issues such as the future of city-owned property on the bayfront, the budget for emergency services and waste management.
"Thank you, you guys are much more efficient than the last bunch that was here," said paralegal Michael Barfield, who posed as a retiree asking for reduced rates for garbage pickup.
"I think we should be going big with this vision," Caragiulo said while displaying a picture of a castle superimposed on the former site of GWIZ. "I don't think anyone's view corridors would be disturbed by that and it might be a bit noisy, but it's worth doing."
The idea drew gasps and laughter from the KidsTown commissioners, who then debated whether to focus the "castle project" on attracting "princesses," if the development would include condominiums or hotel rooms and ultimately agreed to model the building after a sand castle.
Other ideas for the GWIZ property included an aquarium or a film museum.
"Your parents should be very, very proud," said Mayor Shannon Snyder.
"There were a lot of things we agreed about and some things we didn't" said KidsTown Commissioner Austin Rowe, 11, after the meeting. "But, I had a feeling we did great."