News Worthy week ending February 7, 2020


US 41-Fruitville Rd. Roundabout traffic changes begin Feb. 16

Work is progressing with the US 41-Fruitville Road roundabout project and new traffic patterns are expected to begin Sunday, Feb. 16.

There will be six significant changes along the corridor:

(1) Westbound Fruitville Road between Cocoanut Ave. and US 41 will be closed. Please note: This road closure – westbound only — will be in place for the duration of the project while crews construct the roundabout. Five electronic message boards are being positioned around the city alerting drivers to this pending traffic change. Drivers who use Google Maps will be notified about the closure and official detour, Lemon Ave. to 10th St.

(2) The traffic signal at US 41 and Fruitville Road will be permanently removed. This will allow traffic to free flow off the barrier islands.

(3) Northbound and southbound US 41 will begin using diversionary lanes to bypass the construction.

(4) The third eastbound left turn lane coming off the Ringling Bridge and going northbound on US 41 will be reinstated.

(5) The westbound left turn at Boulevard of the Arts will be reinstated.

(6) The northbound US 41 right turn onto eastbound Fruitville Road will remain open throughout the construction; however, drivers will see a slight realignment for this temporary connection.

We’ve been meeting and working closely with business owners and residents, helping them to prepare. The best course of action for us all is to plan ahead and determine alternate routes. If able to carpool, use transit or ride share, consider those options now.

The project is on schedule to be finished in late Fall 2020. Updates are posted at www.US41FruitvilleRoundabout.com. You can also register to receive announcements and alerts on the site.


St. Armands – pedestrian crossing guards begin March 13

In response to a request from the merchants and stakeholders on St. Armands Circle and in an effort to make traffic flow more efficiently, the City is moving forward with employing “pedestrian managers” (also known as crossing guards) at two of the Circle’s busiest areas during peak days and times.

To ensure traffic flow and pedestrian safety during peak season, managers will be located at the two busiest locations: John Ringling Boulevard approaching the Circle, and North Boulevard of the Presidents heading toward Longboat Key. Managers are expected to be in position starting March 13 and will be present Wednesday-Sunday, 12 noon to 6 p.m., with the program running through Easter.

City staff worked closely with the Florida Department of Transportation to develop guidelines and best practices for these important positions, and with the Town of Longboat Key, which is sharing the cost with the City and FDOT.


Lido Pavilion update

The Lido Pavilion is undergoing construction to modernize and spruce it up with some much-needed renovation. Installation of a long-lasting metal roof has begun and painters are now on site. The new concrete slab is in place, and shaded outdoor seating is on order and soon will be installed. With a new irrigation system in ground and ready to go, Florida-friendly landscape is being delivered and planted.

The public restrooms are remaining open during the improvements. Having food trucks on site providing food/beverage service for beachgoers is working to fill the void while improvements are made to the concession stand grill area. The project is on schedule and expected to be completed in the spring.


Public Art Committee – Public Input Sought Feb. 12

Sarasota’s love and appreciation of the cultural arts is highlighted in many ways throughout the community, including the City’s public art program, which at the start of 2020 expanded citywide.

The Public Art Committee, comprised of members appointed by the City Commission, is responsible for making decisions and recommendations regarding the program. And, committee members are interested in public feedback.

On Feb. 12, the PAC will discuss several issues including a proposed mural on a new building. Zahrada, 1546 4th St., is a new development with six residential condos and six commercial condos. To fulfill its public art requirement, the developer would like a local artist company, Brush By Design, to paint a colorful floral design on the side of the building.

Multi-family, mixed-use and commercial developments throughout the city limits with a construction value exceeding $1 million are required to provide a public art contribution in the form of approved artwork or a defined financial contribution, which funds public art.  The program helps highlight Sarasota as the state’s top cultural arts destination on the west coast.

The PAC also will discuss the acquisition process for the artwork that will be installed at the US 41 and Fruitville Road roundabout, a funding request for an Earth Day mural and possibly expanding and promoting the City’s art on loan program. The complete agenda is available online.

The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 12 in the Commission Chambers at City Hall, 1565 First St. Art typically makes for interesting if not lively discussion. Anyone interested is welcome to attend, the PAC would like to have the public’s input. For more information about the public art program, please contact staff liaison David Smith.


Longboat Key Chamber holds Savor the Sounds

The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce their outdoor concert series, Savor the Sounds. The series will kick-off on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 with the very popular Billy Rice Band.

The series is presented by Michael Saunders & Co. Supporting Sponsors are Cadence Bank, Grant’s Gardens, Secur-All Insurance Agency, Veteran Air and WrightWay Emergency Services. Attendees are invited to sit back, relax to the music and enjoy an evening of picnic style dining and music at the Town Center Green, 555 Bay Isles Parkway, Longboat Key. Gates open at 4:30pm and the concert takes place from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Enjoy a casual outdoor picnic setting where you can spread out a blanket and bring your own picnic basket, bring your own lawn chairs and tables or just sit back and listen to the music.

Publix is offering boxed dinner specials and a pre-order option is available by calling Publix at (941) 383-1502. Pre-orders need to be placed by February 24th. A beverage truck, courtesy of Gold Coast Eagle Distributors, will be onsite for those who wish to purchase beer and wine.

General admission tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the door. VIP tickets for a table of 8 are $250 in advance. The VIP tickets include a reserved table for your group of 8 and 2 bottles of wine. There are a limited number of VIP tables available. The concerts are weather permitting with no refunds.

Mark your calendars! Additional series dates are March 28 with Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, April 25 with the Tim McCaig Trio and their salute to Neil Diamond and May 30 with Kettle of Fish.

Tickets are available at the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, 5390 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Suite 102 (in the Centre Shops) Longboat Key. The chamber office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. For additional information call (941) 383-2466.


Siesta Key homeowner must remove fence according to County

A Siesta Key homeowner has until Friday to remove a fence on their beachfront property.

Last month, the homeowners at 3935 Shell Road in Siesta Key put up a rope fence blocking people from trespassing on what they say is their beach property. Sarasota County sent the homeowners a letter saying the fence violates the county’s Coastal Setback Code. Sarasota County states that if the fence is not removed, the homeowners could face fines.

The letter states that by Jan. 24 the homeowners need to remove the post and rope fence.

As of Friday, the fence was still in place. According to the Sheriff’s Office, since July of 2019 there have been approximately 100 calls to the sheriff’s office from 3935 Shell Road for trespassing and other illegal activity.


Lucky’s grocery to be sold to Aldi, Publix

The grocery chain Lucky’s has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

CFO Andrew T. Pillari said in bankruptcy documents that Lucky’s needed about $100 million in incremental funding to continue operations.

The Lucky’s at Westfield Siesta Key mall and the yet-to-be-opened Venice store in the Jacaranda Plaza are two of the six properties Lucky’s Market is intending to sell to Aldi.

German grocery chain Aldi is purchasing both Sarasota County Lucky’s Market locations, according to an announcement on Wednesday from Lucky’s.

The sale is subject to court approval and an overbidding process, according to Lucky’s.

Both of those properties are leased and the landlord is Benderson Development Co. of Manatee County.

The other four stores being sold to Aldi are in Coral Springs, Oakland Park, Vineland and Colonial Landing (Orlando). Lucky’s will also be selling five leased store properties to Publix — Naples, Neptune Beach, Clermont, South Orange and Ormond Beach.


Longboat Key News

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