Sarasota News Leader

08/08/2014 & 08/15/2014

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Page 29 of 124

T h i s t i m e l a s t y e a r, t h e D o w n t o w n Improvement District (DID) was wrapping up a multi-million-dollar beautification proj- ect, with wider sidewalks and rebuilt streets in downtown Sarasota. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the group's time was consumed with the fate of issues going back years. First up, the fate of 25 palm trees, not rarities or exotics, but cab- bage palms, Florida's prolific state tree. For years, drainage on the west side of North Palm Avenue has been awful. A simple summer thunderstorm can put people on the sidewalk ankle-deep in water. Over the past three years, a plan was developed — after discussion at more than 20 public meetings — to fix the problem. The area in question is across the street from the Palm Avenue parking structure. T h e D I D p r o j e c t involves pulling out the palms, re-grad- ing the area between t h e s i d e w a l k a n d the curb, installing This photo shows Sarasota in the bucolic 1920s, almost a century ago. If you follow Palm Avenue to the intersection with Cocoanut, you will notice some palm trees on the left side of the road. Are these the trees the Downtown Improvement District wants to replant? Photo courtesy Sarasota History Center CHEWING ON OLD PROBLEMS THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT CRAFTS A PLAN TO SAVE THE PALM AVENUE PALMS AND CONSIDERS DOWNTOWN POLICE AND BEAUTIFICATION INITIATIVES These may be the oldest deliberately planted landscape trees in the city. Jono Miller Environmental Advocate Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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