Sarasota News Leader

11/16/2012

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DOWNTOWN DO'S AND DON'TS Downtown Sarasota business groups are set for a discussion later this month on marketing that part of the city. Photo by Norm Schimmel CITY BUSINESS GROUPS FIGHTING FOR 'FREE' MONEY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor An off-the-agenda "food fight" broke out Tues- day morning, Nov. 13, as two downtown mer- chants associations squared off for rights to $20,000 in marketing money. Downtown property owners tax themselves two extra mills per year to fund the Down- town Improvement District. One of the DID's functions is to market downtown, and last year it gave $20,000 to the Downtown Sara- sota Alliance (DSA) for advertising in news- papers and magazines. However, the DID decided, during budget de- liberations, not to including marketing in this year's spending plan; it told the DSA to look elsewhere for such funding. On Nov. 5, the DSA almost secured the mon- ey from the Sarasota City Commission, while the commission was acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency. DSA President John Harshman pleaded for government money to advertise the down- town district. "It's been very effective for the first year," he told the mayor and city commis- sioners. "Even Bradenton funds their down- town marketing." Downtown restaurateur and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo made a motion to give Harsh- man and the DSA the $20,000, and Mayor Su- zanne Atwell seconded it. "This is amazing for this kind of money," she said.

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