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Sarasota County Commissioners Christine Robinson (left), Carolyn Mason (center) and Charles Hines.
Siesta Key Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014 6 years ago

Shelter talks set to continue

by: Nolan Peterson News Editor

City of Sarasota commissioners will meet with county commissioners Tuesday for another round of talks related to a proposed downtown homeless shelter.

Tuesday's joint meeting will focus on the results of feasibility studies of the two primary options for the shelter's location, opening the door for the project to potentially move forward if a site is approved.

The two locations, at 1330 North Osprey Avenue and 1800 North East Avenue, were identified by homelessness expert Dr. Robert Marbut and County Director of Homeless Services Wayne Applebee as the primary options for a proposed downtown shelter last year. The county commission ordered an environmental assessment of the sites Nov. 25.

Marbut said the sites were chosen due to numerous factors, including their proximity to the homeless population's center of mass, proximity to downtown social services, and the cost of purchasing or leasing the properties.

The city of Sarasota initially said the Osprey Avenue site would be unavailable until June 2015 due to construction equipment staged there for a nearby deep-injection well project. The city recently announced it has identified nearly one acre of land to the north of the property that could serve as an alternate staging area for the project.

The city and county commissions have also examined other downtown sites, agreeing April 1 on a compromise to consider adding a site located at 1502 and 1562 North Lime Avenue to the list of properties under consideration. Three days later, April 4, 2014, city of Sarasota staff received an email from the owner's representative of the North Lime Avenue site that the owner did not wish his property to be considered for the shelter.

On September 23, 2013, the county commission approved $500,000 for the homeless shelter project as part of the fiscal year 2014 budget — $190,432 will be spent on preliminary site assessments, a site appraisal and Marbut's contract.

If you go:

Joint city of Sarasota — Sarasota County Commission meeting — April 22, 1:30 p.m., Sarasota County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.

Contact Nolan Peterson at [email protected]

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