+ All paid up
Who would have figured having “Laurel Park Neighborhood Association” next to my name could cause such a stir. But, to file a complaint because I didn’t pay a $25 fee and fill out a form, well that kind of hurts my feelings.
I’ve lived in Laurel Park for more than 20 years, served two terms on the board of directors, and for three years was editor of the Laurel Park News, including the Celebrate Sarasota Edition published with city grant money. I represented Laurel Park twice at the Florida Neighborhoods Conference. Those “Historic Laurel Park T-Shirts” were my design. Tour my neighborhood, and all those mature trees growing in the right of way — my project.
It took more than two years to get those 181 trees planted; and to get them established Devin Rutkowski, Jack Notestein and I watered them for months out of the back of a pickup truck using five-gallon buckets and Pete DeLisser’s reuse water. Those were good times.
My neighborly function now is to be on-call for my neighbors who need trash taken out, a ride to the doctor or a familiar voice in the dark when the electricity goes out. And for the record, my friends in Laurel Park would do the same for me.
It really is sad to think that some people care more about a membership form than the substance of what an association of neighbors truly is.
By the way, I’m all paid up. Thanks, Kate, for reminding me.
+ SCAT station shuffle
In response to your article, “SCAT station could get new home,” I am a downtown resident and a property owner near the suggested alternative bus station at the corner of Ringling Boulevard and School Avenue.
I am opposed to this proposed site for many reasons including:
1. It will increase bus traffic on neighborhood streets in Ringling Park, Paver Park and Alta Vista neighborhoods, as well as smaller downtown connecter streets, which already have too much traffic. For example, the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and 301 and stretch of 301 between Ringling Boulevard and Brother Geenen Way are already highly congested and would likely see increased use by buses if the station relocates to Ringling Boulevard.
2. The small site and lack of nearby amenities will encourage bus riders and homeless individuals to migrate to and congregate in Payne Park, which could decrease use of the recently installed and expensive playground for children and the Frisbee golf equipment.
3. It will discourage the redevelopment of the surrounding area for mixed use on currently vacant or unused sites on School Avenue and the former Publix at the Ringling Shopping Center and possibly even the site acquired by the city on 301 for the baseball stadium project that fell through. The proximity of these sites to Payne Park could lead to more up-market development of the area and a nice tax benefit to the city, which could be stymied by relocating the bus station next door.
The suggested new site is too close to residences, too small and is located too much within the downtown interior and it will not be an improvement on the existing facility. In my opinion, relocating the bus station to this location would be a waste of taxpayers’ money and could potentially reduce the city’s tax base in the future.
I propose another location: The the bowling alley site on Fruitville Road and Lime Avenue. This site is large and is located on a main thoroughfare. The property could be constructed so that a new bowling alley is built above the bus station, giving downtown residents a state of the art recreational facility and giving this existing business a new source of patrons (bus riders, including kids, waiting for bus service could use the bowling alley and any adjoining food service facility). The new bowling facility could be designed with children’s safety in mind, such as separate restrooms/changing areas and even separate bowling lanes.
Using this location, in my opinion, could also promote the redevelopment of the surrounding areas with more affordable or mid-market residences and businesses, which is more compatible with a bus station. For example, it could promote the sale of the Vengroff property nearby, help prevent further deterioration of houses in the Park North neighborhood and revitalize the North Lime shopping district. The city beautified this area a few years ago but new businesses did not follow. This could help bring the needed pedestrian traffic.
+ Ties that bind
With the Winter Olympic Games about to begin in Russia, the time is ripe for Sarasota to review its sister-city relationship with Vladimir, Russia in view of its anti-LGBT laws.
We have sister cities to foster cultural exchanges and open lines of communication. Therefore, right now is the time to show that Vladimir’s — and the rest of Russia’s — decisions and actions have consequences for which they must take responsibility. By suspending our sister-city ties until they change their homophobic laws, we show that we truly value all our people, including our gay sisters and brothers.
After all, why open lines of communication if one isn’t going to use them?
Currently 2 Responses
- About the transit center.
It's quite obvious that the agenda on the transit center is not about feeling about the economics of the City or County (the owner of the property); it's about "those people". This is the underlying aspect of any comment or proposal of any downtown person. Keep the less than wealthy away from the condos, Whole Foods, or any downtown area that the writer favors.
The reality is where do the riders head for when the bus ride is over. The partner in this is SCAT, and they should survey all riders for a week.
I would think that a large percentage do in fact seek the courthouse or the county offices at Ringling and Main, because those are unique facilities not elsewhere. Employment locations/commuting would be also likely. We would need to see the survey results before more consideration, i.e. a new location needs to better serve the public and not the ulterior motives of a minority of downtown residents.
- Thanks Observer for the 3 Great Ideas piece and for publishing my letter as well... I love Sarasota and especially my neighborhood Laurel Park > I believe Sarasota's best days are ahead. It's Time Sarasota to elevate the conversation past petty pick pick picking at each other and look to the future. Where do we want to be 10 years from now ? We can't coast along 4ever on our good looks .. at some point we have to bring more to the table in the big room of human development and economic progress than just the word mayor on a placard ... Read the charter > don't let others scare you away w/ fear words like dictator because > When we do elect a Mayor that person will be a reflection of who we are .. and we are good, smart people. It's a long way to November > keep the faith ! okay gotta go to work !
27 Thanksgiving Free Public Talk & Veggie Potluck
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
29 Light Up Siesta Village and Holiday Parade
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
30 Advent Procession
3 Rachel's Challenge Anti-Bullying Event hosted by The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
The gift of music
Riverview High School received a donation of $5,000 during a break in the Kiltie Band Fall concert on Nov. 20.
Coming together for the community
All Faiths Food Bank called on volunteers to help distribute 7,000 Thanksgiving dinners Saturday.
Observer on the hunt for displays
We’re making our list of the best holiday lights displays in Sarasota and checking it twice.