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Sarasota Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011 10 years ago

IN THE PUBLIC EYE: Chris Gallagher

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Age: 52
Hometown: Lowell, Mass.
Family: Married with two children
Education: Bachelors degree in environmental design from University of Massachusetts and masters degree in architecture from University of Colorado
Occupation: Senior designer at Jonathan Parks Architect

Chris Gallagher, a Planning Board member and senior designer at Sarasota-based Jonathan Parks Architect, advocates for a vibrant downtown any chance he gets.

In his spare time, he gauges people’s interests in what they want in a downtown, has helped the city in the last year collaborate on a new downtown marketing effort, has chaired the Chamber’s Governmental Issues Council and hosts a cable-television show and writes a blog on urban-planning and architectural issues.

With all those extracurriculars, one might wonder how Gallagher’s able to squeeze in time for his actual paying job.

He manages.

Gallagher is also the man behind the Palm Avenue parking garage and helped convince city officials this year to approve a $25,000 public art mural project for the interior walls of the garage, which were revealed last month.

Also on his design resume: the storefront for 1516 Main Street; the exterior of a swimwear store on First Street; an historic home renovation on Siesta Key; and his personal favorite — Citrus Square.

The retail/condo development two blocks north of Fruitville Road on North Orange Avenue has a distinct European feel — a three-story building, set back just 10 feet from the road, with brightly colored store fronts, oversized doors and small wrought-iron balconies on the second- and third-floor residences.

Gallagher is so fond of the building that he and his wife live there.

Well-planned architecture is in Gallagher’s blood … so much so that on every one of his television shows, he reads a quote from the philosopher Socrates: “By far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities.”

“I agree with Socrates,” Said Gallagher in an interview with the Sarasota Observer last year. “We are so much shaped by our surroundings.”

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