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Sarasota Friday, Jul. 19, 2019 3 months ago

Committee endorses U.S. 41 roundabout artwork

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In August, as construction continues at 10th Street and 14th Street, work may begin on a new roundabout at Fruitville Road.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The scheduled opening of two roundabouts along U.S. 41 early next year will also bring the addition of two major pieces of public artwork to the city’s collection.

The city has budgeted $300,000 for the creation of sculptures to place in the center of the forthcoming roundabouts at 10th Street and 14th Street. Money for the projects will come from the city’s Public Art Fund, which collects fees from new developments.

“Life in the Seagrass,” Casto Solano
“Life in the Seagrass,” Casto Solano

The city’s Public Art Committee met Wednesday to select its preferred proposals for each intersection from a group of six finalists. The advisory board endorsed “Life in The Seagrass” by Casto Solano for the 10th Street roundabout and “Poly” by Jia Min Nancy Hou for 14th Street.

The committee is scheduled to present its recommendations to the City Commission at a meeting in September.

Roundabout construction rolls on

City officials said work on the third in a series of roundabouts along U.S. 41 could begin in early August, though the developer responsible for financing the project declined to provide details about the timing or effects of the forthcoming construction.

Through a spokesperson, the city said work on a roundabout project at Fruitville Road and U.S. 41 is expected to start at the beginning of next month. The construction is funded and coordinated by GreenPointe Communities, the Jacksonville-based developer that owns the 15-acre Quay site on the bayfront.

The schedule for building the roundabouts has been a moving target. City staff originally expressed optimism work could begin as early as spring 2018, but the process of finalizing a design, gaining requisite approvals and acquiring land led to delays.

On June 17, the City Commission approved a fee credit agreement associated with the project. GreenPointe will receive a $1.03 million credit toward development fees on the Quay project for advancing the schedule of the Fruitville roundabout. In mid-June, the city estimated construction would begin in mid-July, though it was noted that date was subject to change.

In July, after providing an updated estimate on the commencement of construction, the city directed further inquiries to GreenPointe. On behalf of GreenPointe, a spokesperson directed questions about the project to Barry Wilson, a Tampa-based engineer who directed inquiries back to GreenPointe and the city.

“There’s not a lot I could tell you, to be honest with you,” he said.

A city spokesperson said permitting is still ongoing and a multi-phase traffic management plan is forthcoming.

In late August, the Florida Department of Transportation intends to shift traffic along U.S. 41, where the state agency is overseeing the construction of roundabouts at 10th Street and 14th Street, according to FDOT spokesman Brian Rick.

The 10th and 14th street roundabouts are scheduled for completion in spring 2020, Rick said. Construction on the $12.6 million project began in fall 2017.

The city is pursuing additional roundabouts along U.S. 41, including a project at Gulfstream Avenue set to begin in late 2020.

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