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Sarasota Thursday, Apr. 18, 2019 1 month ago

Siesta Fiesta 5K planners aim to raise awareness over public beach access

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The Siesta Fiesta 5K, as hosted by the leaders of Save Access 10, is a separate event from the 41st Annual Siesta Fiesta as hosted by Howard Alan Events on the same weekend.
by: Samantha Chaney Staff Writer

The potential for privatization of a public access point on Beach Road may have fallen quietly to the background, but some Siesta Key residents are determined to keep talking about it through their  Siesta Fiesta Beach and Village 5K Run/Walk Fundraiser — a separate beach event from the 41st annual Siesta Fiesta on Ocean Boulevard.

Siesta Key residents Victoria Ochoa and Harris Williams — the event planners — are leaders of a group called Save Siesta Key Beach Access 10, whose goal is to oppose development of land adjacent to the north-end access point, which is making its way through the county’s environmental evaluation process.

Because of the orientation of Beach Access 10 and its proximity to potential private development behind the row of homes along Beach Road, organizers fear the pathway from the corner of Calle Del Invierno to the sand could someday be converted to a private use.

But what does the Siesta Fiesta do to further Save Access 10’s goal? Simply put, Ochoa and Williams

hope it will raise awareness.

“If we don’t get on this right away, it’s going to sneak up on us,” Ochoa said. “People can go out, get fresh air, look at beautiful marshes and help them understand what’s going on.”

“We are concerned about some of the development ideas and what’s been pushed through … People come [to Siesta Key] because of the beauty,” Williams said. “My concern is that the development always finds a way to disrupt part of the beauty.”

The event itself is being hosted at a house that Williams owns, which sits at the edge of Access 10 and Beach Road.

The event will include a 5K and kayak race, awards, raffles, live music and more. 

Donations to the Siesta Fiesta Beach and Village 5K Fundraiser will be matched and go toward aiding local food banks.

The Clean Ocean Coalition will also be present to teach attendees about sustainability.

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