Sarasota News Leader

02/14/2014

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But that's not the only roadblock. City Engineer Alex DavisShaw told the group that Florida rules dictate how impact fee money can be spent, and it cannot be spent on sim- ply improving a road. It must be used to add lanes or expand intersections, she said. And it's not as though the big-picture plan is anywhere close to being fully funded. The total makeover would cost around $60 mil- lion, DavisShaw pointed out. "At this point, we've cobbled together about $25 million over the next 15 years or so." The first visible signs of change for Sarasota residents will be new roundabouts at 10th and 14th streets on U.S. 41, hopefully by the end of 2016. Hesitant to embrace full-on roundabout mania, and scared of backlash from residents who for some reason are not able to steer their vehicles in circles, the City Commission is using those intersections as a test case to prove to residents that round- abouts can work, before moving on to bigger intersections such as those at Fruitville and Gulfstream. When DavisShaw first began working for the city, the purchasing manager on staff was old enough to remember working in the old City Hall, the one on the pier at the end of Main that jutted out into Sarasota Bay. He would toss a line out his window in the morning and head home at the end of the day with fresh fish for dinner. But the decision to reroute U.S. 41 along the bayfront, a plan pushed at the time by the Chamber of Commerce, severed the city from its waterfront — an ominous exam- ple of how urban planning can affect a city's growth for decades. Council of Neighborhood Associations Vice President Cathy Antunes urged attendees to be active voices in the process. "If we get this right, this will be a place-making, truly world- class environment," she said, "and if we don't, we'll just be like any other place." % The roundabout at Five Points in downtown Sarasota was the first constructed by the city. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader February 14, 2014 Page 64

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