Sarasota News Leader

09/28/12

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BEACH BOND BINGO In July 2011, Sarasota County staff presented a potential plan for pursuing the improvements at Siesta Public Beach in three phases. Image Courtesy Sarasota County DETAILED PLAN FOR SIESTA PUBLIC BEACH IMPROVEMENTS IS EXPECTED TO COME BACK TO THE COUNTY COMMISSION IN LATE OCTOBER By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor In late October, Sarasota County Administra- tor Randall Reid plans to present the County Commission with the latest, detailed plans for the Siesta Public Beach park improvements, along with information about how bond reve- nue could be used to pay for the project. Reid's announcement came in response to questions and comments from Commissioner Joe Barbetta during the board's regular meet- ing on Sept. 26 in Sarasota. Referencing emails that had flowed back and forth between staff and commissioners in recent weeks, Barbetta said, "The rumors are just phenomenal" on Siesta Key that the County Commission is planning to abandon the project because of its ballooning costs. During the commission's Aug. 20 budget work- shop, Program Manager Carolyn Eastwood of the Public Works Department had reported that the latest cost estimate for all the planned improvements had risen to between $22 mil- lion and $23 million. However, during a Sept. 6 presentation to the Siesta Key Association, Project Manager Cur- tis Smith explained that design consultants had included in the plans a number of "wish list" items that members of the public or staff had suggested. When staff saw the proposal

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