The city plans to formally honor Paul Thorpe, a man nicknamed "Mr. Downtown" for his numerous contributions to the growth of Sarasota's urban core.
Residents packed the chambers Monday to convince the City Commission it should dedicate a piece of downtown Sarasota to the legacy of Paul Thorpe.
They didn’t have to say a word. After dozens of supporters stood up to show just how many people attended the meeting on Thorpe’s behalf, the City Commission quickly voted unanimously to begin the process of renaming Pineapple Park for the man known as “Mr. Downtown.”
“He has been an integral part of our downtown and our downtown growth and vitality,” said City Commissioner Jen-Ahearn Koch, who put the item on Monday’s agenda.
Ahearn-Koch said Pineapple Park was a good fit for its connection to the Sarasota Farmers Market, which Thorpe founded, and because the city is currently working to improve the area. The city plans to put a resolution on the agenda for the June 19 commission meeting to formally adopt a new name for the park.
Barbara Strauss, a friend and colleague of Thorpe’s who helped organize the push to name something after him, said she was moved by the show of support at Monday’s meeting. She’s hopeful the city will continue to take swift action to make the name change official.
“Our agenda was to do something quickly to honor a man who has done so much for this town,” Strauss said.