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Persistence brings shine to a jewel

Two people, above all others, have made lasting, legacy contributions to the betterment of the Circle.

Marty Rappaport
Marty Rappaport
  • Sarasota
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When Marty Rappaport, a new landlord on St. Armands Circle, attended his first merchants association meeting 30 years ago, he heard the merchants complain about a problem that had nagged the Circle even then for decades: Not enough parking and no public restrooms.

One of the long time business owners said at that meeting Rappaport should forget about the city helping; it would never happen.

After that meeting, Rappaport spoke with two other St. Armands Circle property owners, the late Gil Waters and Lou Mettler, former owner of what is now The Met. He told them St. Armands Circle was “a diamond in the rough.” That meeting began three decades of Rappaport’s dream and efforts to see the construction of a parking garage and public restrooms.

Last week, that dream came to fruition at the groundbreaking of the $22 million parking garage for St. Armands Circle. 

Dozens of city commissioners have come and gone. And dozens of St. Armands Circle merchants and property owners, through the St. Armands Circle Association and Business Improvement District, have participated with time and millions of dollars of their own money over these 30 years to continue improving St. Armands Circle. 

But two people, above all others — Rappaport especially and St. Armands Circle Association Executive Director Diana Corrigan — have made lasting, legacy contributions to the betterment of the Circle.

Rappaport alone has proven the value of indefatigable persistence and integrity. Said Andrew Vac, longtime St. Armands Circle Association board member: “None of this would have happened without Marty.” It’s not a diamond in the rough; it’s one of the jewels of the city.


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