Sarasota News Leader

11/02/2012

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MAKING THE CONNECTION Pedestrians long have complained of the difficulty of reaching Bayfront Park from downtown Sara- sota. Photo by Norman Schimmel DID ENDORSES PROPOSAL FOR STUDYING MERITS OF A U.S. 41 PEDESTRIAN OVERPASS FROM DOWNTOWN TO THE BAYFRONT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Sarasota's Downtown Improvement District on Tuesday, Oct. 30, supported a plan to study a pedestrian overpass across U.S. 41 at the bayfront. The idea goes back to 1959. Gil Waters was one of the original proponents of the overpass, and at 86, he is still pushing to complete the plan to bring downtown and the bayfront together as a walkable whole. He started a new organization – Sarasota Vi- sion – to make his case. The group has offered $200,000 as seed money for design and engi- neering work. "It increases commercial vitality, it offers a complete shopping and pleasurable experi- ence and it provides a safe and scenic bridge to walk over U.S. 41 to the bayfront and Island Park," said Waters of his vision. "It's not too late, but it certainly isn't too soon." Waters is a former city commissioner, news reporter and property developer. Waters said he was asking for the district's support prior to going before the Sarasota City Commission and then to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, in search of fund- ing. The overpass is estimated to cost about $3 million. Waters — along with architect Brent Park — also is supporting a plan to pave Main Street

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