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Sarasota Thursday, May. 14, 2009 8 years ago

DID project list takes shape

by: Robin Roy City Editor

The Downtown Improvement District (DID) took to the street again as it prepares its first streetscape project.

Board members took their second field trip this year Tuesday, May 12, walking down Main Street, First and Second streets and Lemon Avenue and indicating which improvements to landscaping, lighting and cleaning are priorities.

The DID is a special-taxing district that was created last year to fund downtown improvements. The two-mill tax is only levied on commercial properties from about Goodrich Avenue west to Gulfstream Avenue and Second Street south to Ringling Boulevard.

DID Chairman Larry Fineberg said the board is putting together a plan with Wilson Miller landscape architect Scott Buttari. When that plan is priced, which should be within a month, board members will choose the improvements that fit into their budget.

The DID board approved last week its first budget of $400,000. That money was divvied up into four areas, with the largest chunk, $146,000, going toward land improvements.

One of the biggest topics of conversation on the walking tour was what could be done to beautify Five Points Park.

“You need to have grass in there,” Fineberg said. “Nobody wants to walk around on dirt.”

There is some grass, but large patches of dirt stretch throughout the park.

Buttari said because of the expansive trees that block most of the sunlight, there are few grasses that will grow there.

“If you can’t have grass, you have to cover it with something,” Fineberg said.

The other projects that could make it on the priority list include covering exposed irrigation tubing, re-landscaping barren plant beds, trimming trees more frequently and cleaning sidewalks and pavers more frequently.

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