Lou Ann Palmer, Louann.email@example.com
With the Sarasota County and City commissions' approval of $40,000 each, plus some $22,000 already committed by property owners, the North Trail Redevelopment Partnership is raring to go to renovate and resuscitate the northern gateway into Sarasota. "The group will be meeting this week to energize the business plan by determining the qualifications for hiring a redevelopment director," said Dick Clapp, a founder of the partnership. Sarasota City Manager Bob Bartolotta looks forward to working with NTRP and the County to develop a contract identifying the formal structure so both government agencies can partially fund the effort for the next two years. A draft version of alterations to the current overlay district will soon be presented to the partnership, North Trail Business Alliance and the four neighborhoods flanking the linear corridor -- Indian Beach Sapphire Shores, Tahiti Park, Central Cocoanut, and Bayou Oaks -- prior to presentation to the City Planning Board and City Commission. Partnership leaders including Clapp, Jay Patel, Steve Roskamp and Richard Dorfman have worked strenuously to develop a business plan and alterations to the city code to enhance, encourage and attract new development. The neighborhoods, educational institutions, property and business owners have all been involved and are enthusiastic about the timing for all of this to come together. With land costs at an all time low, opportunities for attracting financial investment is higher than it's been for a very long time. As Commissioner Willie Shaw said: "What is positive for the North Trail is positive for all of Sarasota." Jay Patel agreed. "In the last six to eight months, the North Trail has become more affordable. The momentum is building. The need is now. The opportunity is now." The City Commission unanimously jumped on board with the request. The County Commission did, too. With additional private sector support, the NTRP is anticipating their redevelopment director to be sitting in his or her Roskamp Center office ready to roll by the first of next year.
Original article appeared in SRQ Daily for Wednesday, August 24, 2011 (www.srqmagazine.com)