Sarasota News Leader

10/19/2012

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Sarasota News Leader October 19, 2012 area vibrant and meaningful – announced a new organization called the Downtown Pro- motions Committee. He said the group (with just himself and Ritz at this point) would stage a New Year's Eve celebration downtown this year. Squabbles among organizations last year re- sulted in the cancellation of the increasingly popular street party. Thorpe says his group will put the event's facets back together — falling electric pineapple and all. He would like to plow the festivities' profits back into a fund to pay for lighting the oak trees along Main Street and buying hanging decorations for year-round use. "We had a wake-up call yesterday," he said. The announcement of 1 million square feet of retail space at a new Benderson Development Co. mall at University Parkway and Interstate 75 is seen as a threat to both downtown and St. Armands merchants. The groundbreaking for the project was held on Oct. 15. "We need to see something get started imme- diately," Thorpe said. Then a representative of a third new organi- zation stepped up. Wendy Getchell with Lotus on Main Street announced the formation of "a Page 51 brand-new merchants association." She said it has 25 members right now and is holding a membership drive. "The goal of the Sarasota Downtown Mer- chants Association is to be a key ingredient in the vibrant downtown," she said. "It was not formed to compete with any other group." The organization is planning a winter wonder- land in Five Points Park for the weekend after Thanksgiving and the first weekend of Decem- ber. "The chair of the Downtown Sarasota Al- liance asked us to pick up the ball. We need to have the park look festive," said Getchell. "My purpose is to ask the DID for some seed money to buy decorations. We need a little help this year to get the ball rolling." The DID obliged with a $3,000 grant. "We'll bring back a report on how it was spent," said Thorpe. The district can afford the support. DID Oper- ations Manager John Moran reported a "sub- stantial" cash carry-forward from the last fiscal year to the start of the current period: $96,343. "That brings the current budget to $441,000 with $158,000 unallocated," he said. 2012 Safe Sex Halloween Bash www.SafeSexHalloweenBash.com SATURDAY • OCTOBER 27 • 9PM MICHAEL'S ON EAST

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