Sarasota News Leader

12/13/2013

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MORE CASH IS NO. 1 A proposal for broadening the boundaries of the Downtown Improvement District would have it include the Ritz-Carlton on the bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT BOARD SETS ITS PRIORITIES FOR NEXT YEAR By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The DID outdid itself last fiscal year. Sarasota's Downtown Improvement District board wrapped up a $1.1 million infrastructure face-lift, pursued a marketing campaign, added lights to the district, redefined parking along Main Street, expanded sidewalks and even flirted with a public records lawsuit. and the organization could barely match a $50,000 grant. EXPANSION MODE Two weeks ago, the board members asked Roger Barry, professor emeritus of urban planning at the University of Cincinnati, to help them think through their post-rich enviAnd now, as government bodies go, it is close ronment. The group receives the proceeds to broke. Once you subtract the principal from a 2-mill levy on commercial property in and interest on the loan for the infrastructure a defined area of downtown. improvements, pay for ongoing maintenance and cover the expense of the one-man staff, The DID at that earlier meeting estabthe DID has about $82,000 per year to spend lished seven general priorities: resource annually for the next 14 years. Pull out 20 per- development, security/hospitality, reservcent of that for contingencies and reserves, ing contingency monies, maintenance,

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