+ Booker High breaks ground on new school project
The Booker High School rebuild groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday morning, at Booker High School. Student council representatives, school board members, county and city officials and the project management teams for the building project were all in attendance for the ceremony.
The $58 million project will consist of paring down 38 buildings now into eight buildings for a total 190,000 square feet of state-of-the-art instructional space. The 80 classrooms will be able to accommodate 1,600 students. In addition, baseball and softball fields will be built.
Completion date for the project is 2013.
+ Agreement signed for Palmer Ranch park
A new park will soon serve Palmer Ranch, thanks to a donation from the owner and developer of the massive residential community.
Hugh Culverhouse Jr., owner of Palmer Ranch Holdings, signed over ownership Jan. 19 of 82 acres of undeveloped land that will become a park as soon as late spring.
The tract is bordered by The Legacy Trail on the west, The Hamptons subdivision to the southeast and the Wellington Chase subdivision to the northeast.
Palmer Ranch Holdings values the land at about $24 million.
Culverhouse told county commissioners last year that he had one condition in signing over the land.
“What I want is a park,” he said, “one for both the residents of Palmer Ranch and for (the county’s) children. I want to bring some youth in.”
The park will be a passive one, with minimal construction and minimal amenities, which will include a community garden, nature trails linking with The Legacy Trail, an open play area and a shelter with restrooms.
+ Sarasota County index crime rate falls 8%
Sarasota County saw a significant drop in crime in 2010. Index crimes, including murder, rape, arson, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft, fell 8% from 2009 to 2010.
Sheriff Tom Knight believes the reduction in crime is attributed to the targeting of habitual offenders, strong partnerships with community groups and redrawn patrol zones to better handle calls for service.
A Sheriff’s Office report also found that total arrests fell 12% and traffic fatalities fell 13%, while traffic citations rose 5% and DUI arrests jumped 17%.
District 1 City Commission candidate Frederick Douglas Williams was incorrectly identified in the Jan. 13 issue.
Meetings & agendas
Bird Key Improvement Association — 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Drive
Alta Vista Neighborhood Association — 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, Harmony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, 2600 Courtland St.
County Commission Budget Workshop — 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd.
Charter Review Committee — 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, City Hall, 1565 First St.