Siesta Key to transform newspaper boxes

 

Siesta Key to transform newspaper boxes

 

Date: June 9, 2011
by: Robin Roy | City Editor

 
 

The Siesta Key Village Association has been working for a year to clean up what it considers an eyesore — the clusters of differently sized and differently colored newspaper and magazine boxes.

“They’ve become real tacky,” said association President Russell Matthes.

Soon to be installed along Ocean Boulevard will be modular units, dark green in color and homogenous, much like those downtown on Main Street.

With all the money that’s been put into the Village to improve its appearance, said Matthes, it’s time for the newsracks to also show some improvement.

“The whole objective is to get rid of ugly newsracks,” he said.

Later this month, the Sarasota County Commission will consider a change to the zoning code in the Village that would prohibit an individual publication box to be within 500 feet of a modular unit, essentially forcing out the individual boxes.

Matthes had pushed for a 1,000-foot barrier, but the county was afraid that restricted too much the publications’ constitutional right to disseminate the news.

The modular boxes will be capable of carrying up to 16 publications in each location.

The first area to see the new units will be Ocean Boulevard and Calle Miramar, where a cluster of 12 publication boxes now stands.

According to Matthes, a second, future location will be near the SunTrust Bank at the north end of the Village.

If Matthes received the 1,000-foot barrier that he sought, those two locations would have prevented any individual newspaper boxes from being placed anywhere in the Village.

The 500-foot barrier will prohibit individual boxes from Calle Miramar north to the 7-Eleven store, and from the SunTrust Bank south to the Davidson Shopping Center.

The cost per location is about $4,800, and the participating publications will be responsible for funding them, as well as their maintenance.

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com
 

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