Letter to the Editor: Stop trying to reinvent downtown Sarasota


+ Stop trying to reinvent
downtown Sarasota

Dear Editor:

With reference to the Jan. 12 article titled, “Main Street proposal scaled back,” by Kurt Schultheis, I would like to make the following comments:

I’ve been a resident of Sarasota for 34 years. I love it here! I am in my mid-50s and feel I am an average, long-term resident and one who truly has enjoyed living here for so many years. I am compelled, though, to ask why we strive to reinvent Main Street every few years.

I realize a common goal — keeping patrons coming downtown — is on everyone’s mind. We know visitors are coming to Sarasota County in droves.

One need only drive around St. Armands Circle or Siesta Key, or go to the beach to get visual assurance that locals and tourists are enjoying our community.

Based on those observations, I feel it doesn’t make sense to keep pouring more money into revitalization efforts, such as brick walkways, fancy trees, landscaping and historic streetlights.

All we really need to do is find a way for the sun to shine in downtown Sarasota again. That’s what will bring the people back!

Martha Ingels


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Currently 3 Responses

  • 1.

    Well, Here is the Titanic {City of Sarasota} sinking and the Ships Crew {City Staff} decides it might be a good idea to add more holes {Parking Meters} in the ship's bottom...to try to keep it from sinking....BAD IDEA !!!

    Example...I used to go Downtown for breakfast, I still do, but now I go to the 1600 block of Main....where there are no Meters.

    ***Yesterday, I needed a new watch battery, instead of going to the Jewelry store in the 1400 block of Main Street for a new one, then some shopping and lunch, I went to Batteries Plus on Bee Ridge, then Denny's Restaurant on Bee Ridge.

    Question: Why the Parking Meter Fees" from 5 PM till 8 PM...After 5 PM, at least 50% of the businesses are already closed, the remaining businesses are restaurants and bars....plenty of parking...just no customers....Customers don’t want to pay a Buck an hour to go in a store for a small item, then decide to stop for a meal or shop, but then have to worry about time expiring on a Parking Meter.

    Then the City comes up with a plan to eliminate parking spaces...in order to have more sidewalk space for some outside dining areas...DUH!!!...For customers who are already avoiding the area because of parking meters...what's that called??? Adding fuel to the Fire!!!

    There was a reason Parking Meters failed in the 60" & late 70’s ...It drove away customers to the convenience of the Malls...The City then got rid of the Meters.

    The City spent millions to bring customers back to the Downtown…Storefront Grants...Beautification Programs and more over the next 10-15 years

    Finally…Customers started to return to the Downtown and “Main Street” finally started to get back on it's feet....Vacant storefronts disappeared ...Business began to open and from 1995 to 2006, Main Street was almost back to normal...

    From 2004-2007 the Economy {Housing Bubble} grows and the City has plenty of money…but then the BUBBLE BURST…So what does City Staff do…well they decide Parking Meters would be a good idea as well as a multitude of ideas…6 to 8 Round-Abouts, starting with 5-Points @ $ 1,500,000.00 and others from $ 500,000 to $ 2,000.000 each. They spend and continue to spend huge amounts on landscaping and Park Benches…they build a $ 12 million dollar parking garage off Palm Ave, which is seldom used. To get a ball team, they buy a Strip Joint ans businesses for land for a ball park that is never built…but they put in a playground just feet away from busy US 301…naturally, that playground is unused…The list goes on and on.

    Now the City Staff is thinking of a Parking Garage on St. Armands…Does anyone remember the St Armand’s Parking Garage that was built behind the Fire Station, in the 80’s, that Parking Garage was not used and ultimately completely torn down a few years later…to make room for a New Fire Station…Seems like someone at City Hall would have known that was going to happen….oh well, just a few dollars lost.

    The City Staff...who are all new comers to this area, have no knowledge of the past History of Sarasota ...

    During this down economy, The City needs to use funds for operating the City…supplying the basic services required by the Citizens and Employees, to properly operate and protect the City.

    The City needs to stop wasting money on “Pie in the Sky ideas”…

    The City Staff forget the needs of the Citizens, businesses and employees.

    The City, in the end, will have Deserted Downtown, Closed Storefronts…but they will have Plenty of Unused Pretty Parking Meters...Round-a-bouts for Non-Existent Traffic …Missing Park Benches…Empty Parking Garage{s}

    But wait, if that doesn’t work…The City thinks Parking Meters on St. Armands and also the Hospital and around Hillview just might be the thing to make the City some revenue.

    The City Staff & leaders come up with "THESE IDEAS" OF WHAT IS BEST FOR THE CITY...Just like the Captain of the Titanic…FULL SPEED AHEAD !

    And as the saying goes...HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF....

    It is time to SLOW DOWN…One TITANIC is Enough

    Sarasota, Fl

    Tue 14th Feb 2012
    at 10:30am
  • 2.
  • If I were an artist, and wanted to draw a portrait of "Siill life"' I wouldn't have to travel to far, I would only have to go to Palm avenue and Ringling and observe the "Workers" I could name my work of art as "Statues in orange vests".
  • Richard Barthelmess
    Wed 1st Feb 2012
    at 4:56pm
  • 3.
  • I couldn't agree more.
  • Milan Adrian
    Thu 26th Jan 2012
    at 10:58pm
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