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+ Key Club’s project would be positive
Wow! Longboat Key is such an awesome place to live. Our daughter spent her high school years here in nearby Bradenton at IMG Academies. I was also fortunate enough to reside here in Florida, while her dad would travel back and forth from Houston to visit us. During that time, my husband and I both studied the local real-estate market and almost bought in 2003 and 2004.
However, being prudent parents, we opted not to purchase a property because our daughter’s schooling was our priority. We also concluded that we preferred Sarasota for a long-term investment property over Bradenton. Then, the “bubble” occurred in 2005 and 2006, and we were not comfortable purchasing a property in that market, either. In retrospect, that turned out to be a good decision.
As luck would have it, we fell in love with a lovely condominium complex called Sands Point at the end of 2007. Our neighbors are friendly, the beach is fabulous and our complex is run like a well-oiled machine. My husband, Rick, and I constantly pinch ourselves to make sure we aren’t dreaming … yes, after many years of renting, we were now proud owners of a beautiful condo on Longboat Key.
Residing in the area for many years prior to purchasing our home provided us with a strong knowledge of Longboat Key, the beaches, jobs, restaurants and housing market. Before owning on the island, we stayed at the Longboat Key Club many times and frequently invited our friends to visit. While here, we played golf, tennis and hit the beach and spa. In fact, the Longboat Key Club was the decisive factor in our property purchase on the Key.
So, naturally, we also decided to purchase a membership at the club the same week that we purchased our condo. We were particularly excited about the future renovation of the club and a newly redesigned Rees Jones golf course. We relayed to Matt Walters, with membership sales at the Key Club, that the improvements were needed because we had played the Islandside course many times and often discussed how it needed major restructuring. We plunked down our money and signed on the dotted line as members of Longboat Key Club with full anticipation of the needed changes. After all, the club was built in the early ’80s. I also believe the golf course goes back 40 years. I am sure many living here in the ’80s remember the “new” club and the excitement associated with it.
Now is the time for a major enhancement, because the Baby Boomers are coming. The club has both the vision and money. We saw a great future development that would occur right in our backyard, and it was one of the major reasons that we decided to buy our little slice of heaven condo. Who would buy somewhere with the idea that their surrounding area and club would become stagnant and antiquated?
When our friends come to visit, we enjoy an active lifestyle playing golf and tennis. We love to work out, walk on the beach, eat out, and my girlfriends especially look forward to a day at the spa. I welcome the new wellness/spa facility that the club is set to provide. The new Tennis Gardens is beautiful, and if you haven’t seen it … please do. Portofino is our favorite restaurant and reservations are needed at least a week in advance. We highly recommend it because the food and service is excellent and the décor is delightful!
If you are a resident of Longboat and a member of the club, then I urge you to learn for yourself about the positive changes that the club has planned for this community. With its $400 million injection, our community will be stellar and a place to be proud to come home to. As a licensed real-estate agent, I care very deeply about the property enhancements to the area. The new Rees Jones golf course, along with the improvements to the club, will definitely have a positive effect on our community, thus enhancing property values. Everywhere Rees Jones constructs a course, home values increase and club memberships become even more desirable. That sounds like “positive change” to me!
Founder, Positive Change for LBK
+ Longboat traffic will increase significantly
In reference to your March 26 article in which Michael Welly spoke to the Sandpipers meeting (at All Angels by the Sea), my question is, how can he stand before people and continue to tell them that 10 villas; two, 10-story condos; a good-sized hotel; a health spa; and a humongous meeting center will create “no significant increase” in traffic? Does he think the people of Longboat Key don’t realize what a ridiculous statement that is?
+ Roundabouts are not pedestrian friendly
I agree with Birdy Collins’ observation that road conditions in Carmel, Ind., and Sarasota are not comparable. The picture of a Clearwater roundabout in a recent edition of the Observer was revealing in two respects. First, there were no pedestrians in sight, because there is no way they could safely use the roundabout to cross the intersection. Second, the traffic flow shown was light, making the use of a roundabout suitable by eliminating unnecessary traffic-light-induced delays such as those that frequently occur at the Gulf of Mexico Drive/Longboat Key Club intersection. St Armand’s is, of course, an extreme example of what happens to a traffic roundabout when pedestrians have the unrestricted right to cross the road.
Roundabouts are relatively uncommon in North America, and, consequently, their pros and cons are not well understood. They are used to facilitate traffic flow and are therefore not pedestrian friendly, which is at odds with the claims of the bayfront pedestrian lobby. Vehicles already on a roundabout always have the right of way, and, under heavy traffic conditions, this often results in congestion and delays. Visitors to the United Kingdom will be aware that traffic lights have had to be re-introduced at many major urban-area roundabouts to minimize the potential for gridlock.
Rather than use Carmel as a model, officials should be sent to the greater London area to see how roundabouts actually operate. If they spot many pedestrians using them, I’d be surprised.
Editor’s note: In The Longboat Observer’s Nov. 27 edition, the photo of the roundabout we printed was from Clearwater, not Carmel, Ind., as originally stated in the author’s letter.
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