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Siesta Key Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012 5 years ago

Sarasota County will construct parking garage on Siesta Key



Parking has always been a hot topic on Siesta Key, and with the new Legoman Land set to come to the island soon, Sarasota County officials have been discussing numerous ways to accommodate the influx of visitors.

To start, the Palm Avenue parking garage in Sarasota, which is free now that the downtown parking program has ended, will be torn down. All of the building materials will be shipped to Siesta Key as the basis for the new parking garage that will be built on Siesta Key Beach near the entrance to Legoman Land. Sarasota County has sent out RFPS to area contractors for the eight-story parking garage. County officials estimate the cost will be between $7 million and $8 million.

The garage will painted red and yellow — Legoman’s signature colors — and a 25-foot Legoman (triple its original size) will be permanently placed on top of the structure.

“We want to be sure we brand this area as the No. 1 Legoman destination in the country,” said a county official.

A flashing neon Legoman sign will adorn the top of the parking structure, along with the words “Park ’n’ Play.” The parking garage will include a play area in which Legoman Land visitors can construct replicas of their cars using Legos.

Because Legomen have been popping up all around the world, Siesta Key wants to attract as many Legoman fans as possible.

Preliminary estimates suggest that as many as 10,000 additional people could be visiting Siesta Key daily. The parking lot has 6,000 spaces — 50 of which are designated for season-pass ticket holders to Legoman Land, called “Block heads.”

But visitors are not the only people to be impacted by the influx of people. To help with traffic flow, both the north and south Siesta Key bridges will only be accessible through a lottery system. All drivers wishing to enter or exit the Key must register with the county’s website. Each morning, Sarasota County will randomly select 200 drivers who will have all-day access privileges to enter and exit the Key. Everyone else will receive a text message that will alert you to the two hours you can either enter or exit the Key that day.

“We thought this was the most fair system,” said a Sarasota County official.


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