Longboat Key needs a casino to go along with the new 12-story convention center hotel

Guest Columnist

The Longboat Key Town Council should quit beating around the bush.

If we need more tourists, the sensible thing to do is to OK the building of a large casino to go along side the new gigantic convention hotel, we are the process of approving,

Anybody in the business knows that the most successful convention centers have casinos nearby.

Las Vegas is the biggest convention center of all, and no developer would ever want to plan a big new hotel without drawing the gambling crowd. This is the sure fire way to attract sufficient tourists to make sure that a new convention hotel stays filled.

With a new casino Longboat Key would attract tourists from Sarasota, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and even the rest of the country.

The day- trippers would come for the day or night, spend monies in the shops and restaurants and enjoy our beaches, tennis courts, and golf courses.

Some of these tourists would want to build on the 2,000 new housing units that some growth advocates say are available on Longboat Key.

Of course, we would have to get approvals from the state legislature, but having a town statue already in place, voter approval, along with a developer willing to commit hundreds of millions to the project would certainly give Longboat Key a leg up.

Everyone knows gambling is coming to Florida. The lawmakers in Tallahassee will do anything if enough funds are spread around.

The naysayers will say that a casino will bring more traffic to our already-crowded roads. This is silly. Our roads are as crowded as they can be already. The new convention hotel alone will bring more than 500 new cars on the island. A couple of thousand more won’t make much of a difference.

Gulf of Mexico Drive is already too crowded to cross as it is. A couple of thousand more cars will slow traffic to a crawl all the time, and we can always put up about 20 or so stoplights so that locals can get to the beach.

We could also use the golf driving range and maybe nine or the existing holes for parking — with cars stacked on top of each other. We won’t be losing anything. With all the new tourists on the island, nobody is going to be able to get a tee time anyway.

To those no-growth conservatives and environmentalists who are concerned about our fragile key, who want to stop progress, who say we are violating our comprehensive plan and zooming laws that have been in place a long time, I say get over it.

Move out, if you want Longboat Key to stay the same. Move out, if you want to preserve our charming Key for future generations. Move out, if you don’t like the idea thousands of additional cars on Gulf of Mexico Drive.

This is America. Special interests rule, especially if they have the money to trample over the rights of home owners for their own greedy reasons.

And while we are at it, how about a couple of strip malls: a Wal-mart, Home Depot, and Macy’s? And maybe a gigantic outlet shop? Wouldn’t this make life more amenable. Also, we ought to plan on dredging the old harbor in north LBK so that small cruise ships can stop overnight.

And let’s not forget affordable housing for all the new workers.

So I urge everyone on Longboat Key to vote for progress, and new construction, and congestion and more traffic.

Deep down in our hearts, it’s what we all want. Right?

Blake Fleetwood was formerly on the staff of The New York Times and has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Village Voice, Atlantic and the Washington Monthly on a number of issues.

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7 Responses for “Longboat Key needs a casino to go along with the new 12-story convention center hotel”

  1. Colon, the Grammarian says:

    What’s with this new local judge (non-Federal) who has now ordered the owners to repair their units in this tinder box Chernobyl, where our Fire Department prudently has plans to let it burn down and focus energies on saving the adjacent properties. It would seem that perhaps paying old Murph the $50,000 to fix up their places back in 2010 would have made more sense. Who can even follow this latest legal lunacy, if the cops won’t let you in for your own safety. Meanwhile, Colony Lender is slow-walking their response to federal Judge May, as May probably awaits federal Judge Merryday to reverse him once again. Good grief Charlie Brown, when and where will this end?

  2. ghostrider says:

    It’s a serious game of Dominoes and the seventy-year-old home owner never prevails against corporate interests. It will be homes on the bay-side and high-risers on the ocean. In fifteen years or less the high rises will reach the ocean estates and then those will be slowleeee torn down.

    Ask the former mayor of Miami, Maurice Ferre, about selling his family compound off of the bay on Brickell Avenue.

    Traffic, you say.
    That’s YOUR problem, not theirs.

    Some of you value sunsets and others value pictures of yourself breaking ground for new developments.

  3. Blake Fleetwood says:


  4. Catherine Strauss says:

    Love this article. Pay attention money hungry asshats. I lived in Key West and there is nothing like the smell of stale beer and vomit early in the morning.
    Keep the tourist circus somewhere else. The reason I love Longboat is because of the laid back, residential feel. Ruin it and good people will leave.

  5. Colon, the Grammarian says:

    I’m sure the author had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when we wrote his Armageddon-like
    opinion piece. His jaded view, however, was not shared by 55% of the voters of Sarasota County who reside on Longboat Key, who voted today to allow the Key Club to add those tourism units. Passing island wide by a 53/47 ratio vote, only those farthest away at the north end seemed concerned.

  6. Ross says:

    It could be part of the new Super Walmart project at the Colony site:)

  7. Joe says:

    This is the craziest thing I have ever heard.

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