Longboat cultural & arts center gets boost

Editor & Publisher

The financial as well as the literal site work for a new Longboat Key Community Center are both moving forward.

On Monday, Longboat Public Works Director Isaac Brownman will ask the Town Commission to proceed with the demolition of the existing Amore Restaurant on the 4.1-acre site that is proposed to be developed in partnership with the Ringling College of Art and Design. The property includes the abandoned Amore Restaurant site and building.

Brownman said other than it being necessary to clear the site for the future Longboat Key Arts, Culture and Education Center, the clearing of the former restaurant and filling and sodding of the area will allow for an outdoor venue area that can be used for events until the Center is constructed. The idea, according to Brownman is that an open space venue could help build community familiarity as a gathering space.


County kicks in

The development of the site will be accomplished through a joining of efforts. The town of Longboat Key purchased the two parcels that comprise the site. The construction money, which is estimated to cost up to $16 million, will be raised by the Longboat Key Community Foundation.

The Ringling College of Art and Design has agreed to manage and operate the Center and combine Longboat Key’s programming wishes with its own offerings. The project on Longboat is slated to include a black box theatre.

The good news last week was the approval by Sarasota County of $400,000 to Longboat Key as a grant to pay for the demolition, site preparation and site design for the future construction of the Arts, Culture and Education Center.

The County approved the money out of its Community Reinvestment Program, which is designed to spur economic development and capital improvement projects.

When the County approved the grant last week, it was noted by the commission that the City of Sarasota to apply for any funding or grants for any programs.

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