+ Bradenton alters its election schedule
As the city’s Charter Review Committee prepares to discuss a proposed change to Sarasota’s election schedule, the city of Bradenton has issued a change of its own.
To save money, Bradenton will move its November elections from odd years to even years, so it will match up with the county, state and federal election cycle.
In doing so, Bradenton will no longer have to pay the $111,000 required to hold its own election.
A group of Sarasota citizens backs the idea of moving the city election from its traditional time in the spring to November with the other elections.
The primary goal is to increase voter turnout, because the spring election dedicated to city races generally has a low turnout.
But the move would also save a considerable amount of money. The city is budgeting $129,000 for the spring 2011 election.
+ Pineapple Square to forfeit parking lot
Downtown development Pineapple Square is proposing handing control of the State Street parking lot back to the city, in exchange for more flexibility with its phase-two construction plan.
Pineapple Square currently has a rigid plan, in which it was required to build 157 condos with approximately 85,000 square feet of retail space at Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue.
Developer John Simon wants flexibility in response to market demands. He’s asking that he be able to change the configuration of phase two to consider hotel and increase or decrease the number of condos and amount of commercial space.
A key part of that agreement would be that Pineapple Square would be able to make those changes only through City Hall administration and could avoid public workshops and Development Review Committee, Planning Board and City Commission meetings.
Gaining control of the State Street lot would mean that the city would recover more than $3 million it was required to put aside to build a parking garage for Pineapple Square on that lot.
The development would also be granted 10 years before phase-two construction begins, instead of the three years it currently has.
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Shine bright like a diamond
Ten-year-old Montserat Vasquez can now add jewelry designer to her list of hobbies.
The Ikebana International Sarasota Chapter held its 46th annual exhibition Feb. 22 and Feb. 23, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Darwin’s on 4th’s brewery, Darwin Brewing Co., earned a silver medal in the Best Florida Beers porter category for its Charapa Spiced Porter at Tampa Bay Beer Week March 1 through March 9.