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Five Points Park plans resurrected

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 25, 2009
  • Sarasota
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Three-and-a-half years after six separate plans to improve Five Points Park were created, they sit largely ignored. But, this week, the Downtown Improvement District discussed resurrecting those plans, and at least one city commissioner is on board.

For months, DID board members have talked about wanting to spruce up the park, saying, among other things, that the surrounding wall is uninviting and the grass is too sparse.

“Five Points Park is such an important part of our district,” said DID board member Andrew Foley. “It’s such a glaring example of something that needs improvement.”

Githler Development Vice President Andy Door, who had originally worked on the park improvements, presented the plans to the DID.

“We envisioned connecting the park to Selby (Gardens) with a series of walks with gardens along the way,” said Dorr.

The six concepts have several common elements, such as the elimination of street curbs to create a flat profile, the removal of the turn lane from Pineapple Avenue to First Street and expansion of the lawn area. (See below for complete list.)

Plan variations included flowers, sculptures, a gazebo, a fountain, game tables, benches and moveable chairs.

“(The Community Redevelopment Agency) made a redo of the park its No. 1 project,” said Door. “But the project began to unravel, and it disappeared from the CRA’s radar screen.”

The Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board changed its priorities in May at the request of the DID, which wanted to align its project list with the board’s to create a larger budget and have a greater impact on downtown.

The redevelopment of Five Points Park was moved down to fourth place on the project list. There was only enough money to fund the first two projects — a wayfinding system and downtown historic-district improvements.

When the six concept plans were created in 2006, the projected cost to implement one of those plans was $2.5 million, but Dorr said because construction costs have dropped since then, it’s possible the price tag today may be a little more than $1 million.

Foley suggested the DID help pay for the park improvements, but do them in stages, so no one has to come up with the entire cost at once.

Commissioner Terry Turner agreed.

“Do a two-phase approach,” he said. “Have something to do quickly and make an impact.”

Turner suggested first removing the concrete wall surrounding the park’s lawn to make it more inviting.

“Don’t get lost in a big $2 million plan,” Turner said.

For a document containing conceptual designs for Five Points Park, click here.

• Roundabout at the Five Points intersection
• Redesigned left/right intersection at Pineapple Avenue and First Street
• Additional row of oak trees paralleling the existing row of trees near the Pineapple Avenue curb
• Relocation of the palm trees to the new edge of the realigned Pineapple Avenue
• Elimination of curbs along Pineapple Avenue and First Street to create a flat profile
• Bollards to delineate the edge of Pineapple Avenue and First Street roadways
• Curbs at all corners with barrier-free ramps
• Brick pavers for Pineapple Avenue and First Street roadways
• Retention of the historic clock
• Retention of all trees within the park
• Retention of the donor bricks
• Expansion of the lawn area by approximately 10 feet


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