+ Former Tampa leader suggests strong mayor
During her tenure, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio tripled the city’s cash reserves to $150 million. She was elected a few years before the Great Recession.
Iorio delivered a speech about leadership during the Argus Foundation’s 26th annual meeting March 7, at the Francis Ballroom. She penned the book, “Straight Forward — Ways to Live and Lead,” in 2011, the same year her two terms as mayor ended.
While Sarasota County and the city of Sarasota are governed by commission-manager systems, an elected-mayor form of government shapes policies in Tampa. The ballot initiative for Sarasota to take on a similar structure — dubbed the “strong mayor” proposal — failed to get City Commission support in August.
Iorio has been involved both as mayor, and as a Hillsborough County commissioner.
“If your system is floundering a bit, I suggest you get a strong mayor,” Iorio said during the meeting. “I’ve been a part of the other form of government, and it tends to lead to a lot of finger pointing.”
Also at the meeting, Kelly Caldwell, president of the Caldwell Trust Co., was inducted as the foundation’s 2013 president. Caldwell has been a member of The Argus Foundation Board of Directors since 2004. This is Caldwell’s second term as president. Outgoing Argus President Michael Quillen, of Gecko’s Hospitality Group, passed the gavel to the incoming president.
+ Work set to start under Siesta Key north bridge
CB Construction Services will begin construction this month on the Bay Island Park seawall located on the north end of Siesta Key.
Sarasota County commissioners approved a $997,379 contract with the firm March 5, to replace 800 feet of the aging seawall.
The city of Sarasota will provide $75,378 for the project at the joint city-county owned property, and a West Coast Inland Navigation fund grant will provide $823,451. That grant expires Sept. 30, when county staff expects the contractor to reach substantial completion.
+ County conducts Key noise experiment
Sarasota County code-enforcement officer Kevin Burns gave Siesta Key Association members, who are working on noise issues, vindication March 7, when he revealed the results of a comprehensive sound study.
Blasé Café hasn’t violated the county’s noise ordinance, which regulates sound levels from property lines. Normally, noise tapers off as sound waves travel away from a source.
But, a sound vortex, created by the environment and architecture of buildings on the south end of the Village, amplifies sound to residents in the Terrace Condominium Complex, Burns said.
As a short-term solution, Blasé Café staff will angle speakers toward the Gulf of Mexico.
A long-term solution will come as the county reworks the noise ordinance, which is set to expire in November.
+ Sarasota adds 100 parking spaces in Rosemary District
The Rosemary District has 100 new parking spaces available just in time for season.
Crews working for the city of Sarasota started replacing traffic lines with lines for parallel parking spaces March 7. There are 70 new parking spaces on Lemon Avenue between Fruitville Road and Ninth Street, and 30 new spaces on Fouth Street between Central and Orange avenues, said City Public Information Officer Jan Thornburg.
The bolstered parking plan grew out of a December community workshop about economic development within the Rosemary District.
+ Complexus joins city’s public-art collection
Another larger-than-life art piece in downtown Sarasota will be formally dedicated to the city of Sarasota public-art collection during a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue.
Mayor Suzanne Atwell and District 3 City Commissioner Shannon Snyder will be on hand to accept the sculpture “Complexus” as a gift from the Sarasota Public Art Fund. Artist John Henry, who created the monumental piece, also will be in attendance.
“Without question, Complexus is a signature sculpture,” said senior planner Dr. Clifford Smith who oversees the city’s public-art collection.
Complexus will become a permanent art fixture — located across the street from Unconditional Surrender. Complexus was installed at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue during the Season of Sculpture last year. Knowing the city of Sarasota was interested in acquiring a signature public-art piece for its collection, the Sarasota Public Art Fund, a non-profit organization, offered to raise the funds necessary to purchase Complexus and donate it to the city.
The bright, abstract sculpture is 70 feet tall and made of steel. It will become the 43rd sculpture in the city’s collection. To learn more about the collection visit the city’s public-art webpage via SarasotaGov.com.
Meetings & Agendas
• Sarasota City Commission Regular Meeting — 2:30 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 4. City Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota
• Sarasota County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, Administration Building, Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
• Sarasota County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, Administration Building, Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
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22 Rhonda Riley: The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope
23 [New Scholars] New College
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
23 Ageless Grace with Mary Masi
10:00 am - 11:00 am
23 Fun Fitness for Parkinsons
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Trevor Kunk is the chef de cuisine at Blue Hill in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which the James Beard Foundation just named "most outstanding restaurant."
Sarasota native and resident Bri Oliva made her TV debut May 7, on the "Rachael Ray Show." Oliva was selected to participate in a segment called "Hidden Dangers on the Playground."
Key to the city
More than 100 community members and leaders, friends and family surprised Paul Thorpe, one of the founding members of the Downtown Association of Sarasota, April 25, at The Gator Club, to show their appreciation and celebrate the strides he’s made for Sarasota over the past four decades.