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A BLOSSOMING BUSINESS The TubeDude gift shop is on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel TUBE DUDES: FINE ART, PUBLIC ART, SIGNATURE ART, YARD ART OR OBSTACLE? By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The Sarasota Downtown Improvement District this week called on two senior city staffers to answer questions about the increasing number of "Tube Dudes" in the city. Meanwhile, "the dudes" themselves are soon to expand nationwide. know. They also wanted to know if and how the city could regulate the "dudes." "We drew the line if they were holding a commercial message," Schneider said. "Without a sign, we allow it as 'yard art' like a pink flamingo." However, downtown does not have yards, or "The first time we saw it, it had a sign in its even private property outside storefronts. It is public right of way hand," said Gretchalong sidewalks, and en Schneider, general manager of NeighborWhen it's on public property, there the city can regulate hood and Develop- is a case for the Public Art Committee to that area. ment Services. "Is it a put it to the test. "Our city code talks sign? Or is it art?" about obstruction of Elizabeth van Ripper Chairwoman pedestrians," said City That is what the DID Sarasota Public Art Committee Engineer Alexandrea members wanted to

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