+ Sarasota at a loss for more words
APRIL FOOLS - Many Sarasotans have heard of the Downtown Sarasota Alliance, the City Alliance, the Downtown Partnership and the Downtown Sarasota Council. Each one has its own specific mission in the city.
Seven new groups are in the works, and now all possible combinations of the words “downtown” “Sarasota” “association” “council” “alliance” and “partnership” have been taken.
The new groups are “The Associated Council of Downtown Sarasota (ACDS),” “Council of Allied Associations of Sarasota (CAAS),” “Downtown Association of Councils Alliance (DACA),” “The Sarasota Alliance with Downtown Associations (SADA),” “Associated Partnership Council of Downtown Sarasota (APCDS),” “Sarasota Alliance of Downtown Councils Partnership (SADCP)” and “The Partnership of Sarasota’s Downtown Associated Alliances (PSDAA).”
Ernie Ritz is a member of them all.
+ Consultant-hiring consultant hired
APRIL FOOLS - Feeling that its consultant-hiring practices have slipped a bit, the city is looking for help.
City staff had been known for their prowess at hiring consultants for things such as bayfront connectivity and the wayfinding sign system.
But, recently, it chose a group of volunteers to come up with a greenspace policy, and the city declined hiring a police-department consultant, instead choosing a panel of local citizens — neither cost the city anything.
It’s cost-saving practices such as those that has the city scrambling. So, it just hired a consultant-hiring consultant to instruct city staff on more effective ways to hire consultants. The new consultant will train staff for six months at a cost of $120,000.
+ Where the sidewalk ends
APRIL FOOLS - A radical shift in the city’s greenspace policy is requiring more grass downtown.
The Greenspace Policy Committee has recommended adding 40% more grass, plants and trees downtown.
But with so few places to add that much greenspace downtown, the city is being forced to tear up concrete sidewalks and replace them with grass.
One problem, though, is that the city’s grass-cutting operations have been hit so hard by budget reductions that it will only be able to trim the sidewalks once every three weeks. Business owners fear the resulting sidewalk jungles will keep away customers who don’t have their own weed whackers.
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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.