News Worthy Briefs

Fruitville Road to close early March; City suggests strategies

With the combination of road construction along U.S. 41 and seasonal residents returning to Sarasota, we’re experiencing heavy traffic days, especially for those coming off the barrier islands.

For Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin, this is both normal and exceptional.

“In the past, even with all three left turn lanes open for vehicles traveling eastbound on Gulfstream Avenue (from the Ringling Bridge) to northbound U.S. 41, traffic has been known to stack past Coon Key. Now, intermittent lane closures at 10th Street plus a lane reduction at Gulfstream Avenue are creating some particularly heavy traffic, especially in mid-to-late afternoon,” said Barwin.

City staff is in contact with the FDOT team working on the 10th Street roundabout construction to try to alleviate the congestion. The City has been told, says Barwin, told the recent significant backups we’ve seen should cease for the next 2-3 weeks until the next anticipated lane closure near 10th Street.

As for the Gulfstream Avenue/U.S. 41 intersection, the third left turn lane heading northbound on U.S. 41 is expected to be re-established in early March. That lane has been temporarily removed while construction crews work on underground utilities and build a temporary diversion roadway on the west side of U.S. 41 for the U.S. 41/Fruitville Rd. roundabout construction.

When the third left turn is re-established in early March, the left turn lane from northbound US 41 to westbound Boulevard of the Arts also will return. In addition, the traffic signal at Fruitville Road will be removed, so traffic will flow freely up to Boulevard of the Arts, which should improve movement from Gulfstream.

With the removal of the traffic signal at Fruitville, Fruitville Road will be closed between Cocoanut Avenue and U.S. 41. Again, these traffic changes are expected to occur in early March.

The City is encouraging drivers who want to make that westbound to southbound movement, from Fruitville Road to U.S. 41, to start planning alternate routes now. Electronic message boards will be installed prior to the Fruitville closure alerting drivers and designating Lemon Avenue and 10th Street as the official detour to get drivers to U.S. 41, where they can then travel north or southbound to their destination.

Updates on the project are posted at www.US41FruitvilleRoundabout.com


Bobby Jones Golf Club options in works

On Monday, Jan. 27, the Sarasota City Commission will resume discussion on the renovation of 36 holes of golf at Bobby Jones and recent public input requesting additional environmental elements. Previously, the Commission designated the remainder of the course as parkland. Concepts showing potential designs and uses for the new parkland were presented to the community in November. Based on community feedback, the City’s consultant, Kimley-Horn, created an additional option providing for more parkland and 27 holes of golf.

The City is continuing to work closely with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast on a possible conservation easement for all or a portion of the property, which would keep it green space in perpetuity.

The City Commission will receive a comprehensive presentation from the consultant showing the three options, all of which preserve the concept of affordable golf while enhancing the amount of green space. No decisions will be made during this workshop.


FC finds red tide in Sarasota County

Small levels of red tide are returning to Sarasota County according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Researchers said low concentrations of the Karenia brevis algae were detected in four of the 32 samples collected in the county. The FWC also collected five water samples in Manatee County in the past week, but none of them showed evidence of the red tide-causing organism.

According to the report released Friday afternoon, Manasota Beach, Manasota Key, the Venice Fishing Pier and the Sarasota Bay Dock showed low amounts of the algae. Red tide was also detected in Charlotte and Lee counties, according to the FWC.


County commits $20 million to future Mote Aquarium

The Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously Wednesday for the future Mote Science and Education Aquarium planned for Nathan Benderson Park. They also made a commitment to fund $20 million of the project. Mote is seeking $130 million for the project,


Rare World War II-Era Planes flying into Venice

The Wings of Freedom Tour will display a collection of aircraft from the World War II era, including the last still-flying B-24 bomber and a P-51 fighter, at Venice Municipal Airport from Jan. 23 to 26. The event is created by the Collings Foundation, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that works to honor veterans and educate Americans about aviation history.

Visitors can tour the aircraft inside and out. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Thirty-minute flights aboard these exceptional airplanes are also available. Flights on the B-24 are $475 a person, while the P-51 flight costs $2,400 for a half hour and $3,400 for a full hour. For reservations and information on the flight experiences, call (800) 568-8924.


North Longboat Key residence sells for $4.47 million.

Timothy C. and Mary Karen Peterson purchased a three-story, six-bedroom house at 6477 Gulfside Road for $4.47 million. The Gulf-front property was listed in September for $4.95 million.

The home sits on 0.66 acres. Sellers Amanda C. Cabot and Peter Kjellerup of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, bought the property for $4.3 million in 2016.


Buchanan raises more than $½ million in fourth quarter

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s campaign announced Tuesday that the congressman raised $524,291 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to support his reelection bid against Democratic candidate state Rep. Margaret Good.


Sarasota approves new restrooms for St. Armands Circle

The Sarasota City Commission approved last week a plan to construct three new, unisex public restrooms in the western median closest to Lido Beach.

The St. Armands Business Improvement District will next start the permitting process and hire a general contractor. The BID. Will pay an estimated $380,000 to build these three, single stall restrooms, and the City will maintain them at an estimated cost of $66,000 per year from the city’s Parks and Recreation budget.

The restrooms are due to be built by end of October.

Longboat Key News

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