Sarasota News Leader

07/12/2013

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Sarasota News Leader July 12, 2013 OPINION Page 82 SUMMER IMPROVEMENTS COMING TO DOWNTOWN AND NORTH SARASOTA By Bill Nichols and Richard Winder Contributing Writers COMMENTARY As members of a community, we are on the lookout for ways to improve our beautiful city, whether it is a small tweak in a neighborhood or something more large-scale, impacting the greater population. various locations stretching from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points and up to Goodrich Avenue. The enhancements will be the installation of brick paver sidewalks from Gulfstream Avenue to the Five Points roundabout, the creation of wider sidewalks with parallel parking on the north side of Main Street from Gulfstream Avenue to Five Points (angled parking will remain on the south side of the street), the planting of additional landscaping, the replacement of light poles to improve visibility for pedestrians, the installation of brick pavers at select crosswalks and the addition of trash receptacles and benches. When we are finished, our urban commercial district will be even more attractive. The City of Sarasota is embarking on two significant improvement projects this summer, which we expect will improve walkability downtown, improve landscaping and create a more user-friendly travel experience for visitors. One project will occur downtown; the other, in north Sarasota in the Bayou Oaks neighborhood. Both projects started this week, and both are expected to temporarily impact motorists and pedestrians during the construction periods. Upon completion, though, we anticipate these tandem projects (On July 15, the City Commission will conwill improve the overall quality of life in Sara- sider an additional enhancement for the project: the installation of brick pavers at the four sota. crosswalks at the Main-Palm intersection. DOWNTOWN ENHANCEMENTS If that is approved, the intersection will be temporarily closed for approximately three Enhancements needed in downtown Sarasota were originally identified more than a decade weeks.) ago in the city's Downtown Master Plan 2020. Then, in 2011, creating a more vibrant downtown became a high priority as a result of a conference and review of the 2020 Plan. So we are excited to collaborate with the Downtown Improvement District to make these long-awaited improvements a reality. As directed by the City Commission, a majority of the work will be completed during the summer, with substantial completion expected by Veterans Day. We are asking for your patience throughout the summer and early fall, as we endure these public improvements. In the end, the slight inconvenience Main Street is the primary focus of the project, will be worth it as we create a more livable, with $1.8 million in improvements planned at visitor-friendly city.

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