+ County plans Palmer Ranch road upgrades
In anticipation of further development of Palmer Ranch through 2014, the county approved road improvements that will keep traffic congestion to a minimum.
Because retail and office development is expected in the McIntosh Road area, that street will get two additional lanes from Sawyer Loop Road to its terminus at U.S. 41.
Sawyer Loop Road will also be expanding. A new two-lane segment will be built from McIntosh Road to the southern terminus of Sawyer Road.
+ City Commission approves hotel negotiations
The City Commission has approved an “invitation to negotiate” for developers who want to build a hotel on the vacant Palm Avenue parcel next to the parking garage.
Three developers have already expressed interest in building a hotel on that site — Benderson Development Co., Strategic Investment Corp. and Dr. Steve Bedi.
The city will begin negotiations with those three and any others who come forward within a yet-to-be specified timeframe.
City Manager Bob Bartolotta said he’d like to have a contract within two or three months.
One requirement for each bidder is that they can begin construction within 16 months.
+ Early voting to continue for another week
City voters wishing to avoid the polls on Election Day can now take part in early voting.
The city election occurs March 8, but residents can vote now until Sunday, March 6.
Early voting takes place at the Supervisor of Elections Office, at 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota.
Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Voters will decide three City Commission races: District 1, with candidates Richard Dorfman, Linda Holland, Willie Shaw and Frederick Williams; District 2, with incumbent Commissioner Dick Clapp and candidate Paul Caragiulo; and District 3, with candidates Diana Hamilton, Shannon Snyder and Pete Theisen.
At its Feb. 22 meeting, the City Commission wrapped up the afternoon session about an hour earlier than usual.
Mayor Kelly Kirschner joked that the reason was that a high-tech tool has replaced commissioners’ paper workbooks.
“We can attribute the speed to our iPads,” he said.
Meetings & agendas
Bird Key Improvement Association — 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Drive, Sarasota
Festival Steering Committee — 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Criminal Justice Commission — Noon Monday, Feb. 28, County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Charter Review Committee — 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota
Bird Key Improvement Association Membership Meeting — 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Drive, Sarasota
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2 3rd annual 'Power of the Girl' Business Breakfast
2 French apÃ©ro evening
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
2 Florida's Children First 2014 Sarasota Reception
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
2 'Safe Sex Halloween Bash: Midnight on the Bayou' Pre-Party Kiki
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Bridging the gap
The Children’s Guardian Fund wants to help teens get hired.
Win big in two Observer contests
Starting in October, the Observer will now offer prizes for winners of the weather photo contest, sponsored by Manasota Flooring Inc.
Can you dig it?
Third- and fourth-grade students of Temple Beth Sholom had a chance to brush up on their paleontology skills last week while digging for faux dinosaur bones.