Sarasota News Leader

10/5/12

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EASING IN THE CHANGES Foliage along one side of Access 7 helps screen the parking area from the neighboring condominium complex. Photos by Rachel Hackney SARASOTA COUNTY STAFF IS MOVING SLOWLY ON PLANS TO EXPAND PARKING AT SIESTA BEACH ACCESS 7 By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Almost three-and-a-half years ago, the Saraso- ta County Commission asked staff to provide information "about plans for improvements at the two properties purchased adjacent to Siesta Beach Access No. 7," according to a June 16, 2009 memo from then-County Man- ager Jim Ley. The primary goal was to create more parking at that access. A secondary goal — a dream of then-Parks and Recreation General Manager John McCarthy — was to transform an histor- ic cottage on the property into an educational center. The property "really was bought to provide parking," Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, told The Sarasota News Leader in a recent interview. However, the plan was to add the parking slowly, current Parks and Recreation General Manager Carolyn N. Brown explained to the News Leader. In just a few weeks, George Tatge, a Parks and Recreation manager, will join other staff members at the site to assess the next steps, he said in a Sept. 28 interview. "We're not developing a full-blown parking lot there," he said. The idea was to protect the

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