Village property owners already have begun working with Sarasota County staff to replace a decorative wooden fence on the east side of Ocean Boulevard that borders a ditch from the north end of the Village to Treasure Boat Way.
Although the fence and its adjacent boardwalk were among the features added during the major county beautification project completed in March 2010, in the past months the fence has lost some of its boards.
“We don’t know if it’s kids or bar patrons,” Lt. Tom Stroud, of the Sheriff’s Office, told the Pelican Press after the Aug. 4 Siesta Key Association meeting.
The fence topic arose again after deputies responded to reports of vandalism late on the night of July 26 or early July 27, at The Old Salty Dog Restaurant. Sgt. Scott Osborne told the Pelican at that time that officers had recorded several recent reports of boards being kicked out of the fence, which is just down the street from the restaurant.
During the Aug. 4 SKA meeting, he added, the incidents always seem to happen late at night. “It’s so flimsy,” he said of the fence, which makes it an easy target.
“Next, there’ll be a rescue call for somebody in the ditch,” SKA President Catherine Luckner responded, drawing laughter.
During the Aug. 2 Siesta Key Village Association meeting, architect Mark Smith suggested more lighting for the north end of the Village.
“That’s a good idea,” Sarasota County Commission Chairwoman Nora Patterson agreed.
“A little bit of lighting goes a long way,” SKVA President Russell Matthes said.
Once The Old Salty Dog Restaurant closes, generally no later than midnight, Smith said, no people are out on that end of the Village to serve as a deterrent to someone thinking about committing vandalism. “I tried to get the Salty Dog to put a security camera up,” he said, but he had no luck.
In the meantime, Smith and Matthes said they are working with James Harriott, executive director of public works for the county, on putting up a sturdier fence along the boardwalk near Treasure Boat Way.
Smith had suggested an aluminum railing in an email to Patterson in July adding, “It won’t look as nice, but it will hold up and is low maintenance.”
The county will get estimates in September for the replacement fence, Patterson told the Village Association group.
It also will replace the wooden decking of the boardwalk with a composite that won’t warp, Smith said.
Stroud said the Sheriff’s Office will keep monitoring the north end of the Village.