A sunny "Welcome Back" to all our friends returning from up north! Boy, did you miss a lot (when you weren't following along with the super relatable trials and tribulations of 'Siesta Key', our new favorite "reality" show). We avoided a major hit from a hurricane (again). We finally (maybe?) got closer to a traffic solution at U.S. 41. And everyone seemed to have an opinion on paid parking.
But don't worry, from the turtle tracks on Longboat beaches to the debris piles across Sarasota, we were there for it all.
Extreme weather was the biggest topic this summer, with a series of floods and tropical storms that drenched the city and wreaked havoc on its iconic golf course - and that was before its biggest hurricane in more than a decade. While Irma didn't hit as badly as many worried, the mountains of debris across the city made the storm's impact impossible to miss. Same with 'Siesta Key', which no one could avoid, as much as some tried to do so. On the island itself, parking, or more accurately the lack thereof, had a similar polarizing effect as the eponymous television program, a debate that won't cool down this winter.
Irma left plenty of worries and debris on Longboat as well, but much of the island's attention was focused internally this summer. The Colony continued to dominate discussions in the town's planning department - and much of the town's social halls. While Longboaters waited for what might happen to the Colony, plenty of new developments were already on the move - some literally. The town's historic cottages found a new home after a quick trip on the back of a truck and a floating playground anchored down on the north of the island. Down in Town Hall, incoming Town Manager Tom Harmer will have plenty on his plate as he swoopes on to the island early next year.