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Longboat Key Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 5 years ago

Our View: To end the Colony dispute


It’s the thought that counts. It was right on.

A little more than a week ago, former Longboat Key Mayor George Spoll urged the Town Commission to get involved in Colony Beach & Tennis Resort saga and encourage encourage the disputing parties to resolve their differences.

Reading from prepared remarks, Spoll noted — accurately, we might add — the Colony dispute isn’t just a dispute between the feuding sides. It’s also “about the entire community of Longboat Key, our future, our island.”

That, it is.

While Town Attorney David Persson gave commissioners the right advice — not to intervene, except as the required regulatory body, Spoll and his colleagues on the Longboat Key Revitalization Task Force, in effect, were articulating the collective view of, dare we say, every Longboat Key resident.

There is nothing — not the Longboat Key Club and Resort expansion, not a new Publix store, not a redeveloped Whitney Plaza — that Longboaters want more than to see the parties involved in the Colony dispute shake hands and announce a settlement that is fair to all and a plan that will bring an expeditious redevelopment of the Colony.

Spoll is so right. The reopening of a new Colony is crucial to Longboat Key and our region’s economic future and quality of life.

To be sure, there probably is no shortage of Longboaters who would gladly try to mediate a settlement. But we all also know that a settlement will never occur unless two conditions exist on both sides:

• Each side must want it, must make a commitment and must be willing to work however hard is necessary to settle the dispute. This reminds us of the retired Navy Seals who run the non-profit, The Mission Continues, dedicated to helping wounded veterans begin new lives of public service. As its founder, Eric Greitens, said recently, he and his colleagues can reach out all they want to help wounded vets. But their efforts won’t matter unless the wounded vet decides on his own to make a change.

• Each side must accept that a good deal is one in which everyone gives ground but still feels a sense of fairness at the outcome.

It looks like the mediation deadline this Thursday for the Colony’s disputing parties will end at impasse. But a federal court has ordered a second round of mediation.

Writing for all of Longboat Key, we urge all the parties: Do the right thing.

The bell ringers ring. The Marines collect Toys for Tots. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and local media collect for the Season of Sharing.

And there are dozens and dozens of more local organizations, churches and synagogues that contribute to brighten the holiday spirits of those in need.

This one struck us as emblematic of the special generosity of the people who live in Greater Sarasota-Manatee:

After Sarasota Ballet’s performance Dec. 9, Artistic Director Iain Webb addressed the audience to thank everyone for his support. But he also wanted to give a special thanks.

Normally, the ballet’s dancers get a two-week holiday break without pay. This year, though, Webb had a special Christmas gift.

With all of the company’s 45 dancers on stage, he announced, thanks to an out-of-the-blue gift from an anonymous donor, the dancers would receive two holiday weeks with pay — full pay.

They could have danced all night.


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