July Siesta Key Round Up
By Bob Stein
We’d like to begin our Siesta Key Round-Up on a positive note. Here is a letter we received from one of our island residents.
While visiting Siesta Key for business and pleasure last week something incredible occurred. And I wanted to share it with the citizens of Siesta Key and readers of the Siesta Sand. I am part owner in a national Energy Agency in Ohio and sell natural gas to many of the Siesta Key businesses. My family has visited Siesta Key for nearly half my life and it is by far our favorite place to visit in Florida. Our business most recently started renting a house on the Key for a month and permitting employees to spend time with each of their families.
During my visit last week, the very first day I misplaced my wallet. After hours of searching we all came to the conclusion that someone stole it or it was just gone. Everything I brought was still in the wallet, both company and personal credit cards, ID’s, cash etc. Losing money is horrible but the thought of not having my ID to get back on the plane and replacing credit cards was even worse. Luckily enough I was not alone and others helped with my meals, etc., but I was in for a long week for sure!
While checking emails in the morning, one of them had a subject that read: Re: Found your wallet. At first it didn’t register and I couldn’t believe my eyes so I read on which is when I noticed that the email was actually coming from C. McGregor, Deputy, Siesta Key Substation 5105 Ocean Blvd Sarasota, FL 34242. It simply read: Call me at 941-***-**** I have your wallet. During the call Deputy McGregor said he had my wallet and that everything was still in it! Luckily enough I had a personal business card in my wallet with my email but not my cell number. He called the business but we were already closed for the day. Deputy McGregor tried to contact my neighbors, my credit card companies to have them reach out to me by phone etc. Deputy Christian McGregor, you went beyond your call of duty and I wanted to thank you and the honest citizen that turned everything in to the station, publically!!!!
It’s nice to know there are still honest people in the world. If you are reading the paper I send you all my sincere thank you!!!!
President, MSI Utilities, Inc
Dogs not allowed on the beach
This is a reminder that dogs are not allowed on the beaches of Siesta Key. The Sheriff’s Office will be cracking down on anyone not adhering to this ordinance. Nesting season is still in progress and it’s possible that the dogs may destroy the nests. Dogs can trample and dig up the nests. In addition owners that don’t pick up after their pets cause increased risk for beach water contamination which results in beach closures. Taking your buddy for a stroll on the Siesta Key beaches will cost you $100. There are pet friendly areas in Sarasota County. You can check with the Chamber office for the locations of these dog parks.
Stickney Point Bridge repairs update
Based on the tight transition and traffic control devices needed to maintain two way traffic on one bridge, it was determined, by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), that it’d be safer to have one-way traffic during construction at night. Unfortunately, not everyone got the message as residents contacted FDOT to voice their concerns about the unannounced changes.
According to communications received from FDOT, the traffic backups are typically heavy at the start of the lane closure set up at 9:00 p.m. There are a significant amount of traffic control devices that are required to be set up each evening. East bound traffic is typically the heaviest and the backups extend onto Midnight Pass Road. Once the flagging setup has been in place a while it averages between 5-6 minutes and less based on traffic flow as to how long traffic is held for the flagging.
FDOT will further review options to optimize traffic conditions. Until then, expect the one-way traffic flagging to continue. The repairs are anticipated to be completed in early 2016.
Waterfront 7 Realty, LLC opening new office in village
Pamela J. Hagan, Broker-Owner and Sarasota native would like to announce the opening of their new office on Siesta Key located at 121 Avenida Messina. They have been under extensive renovations over the past few months. Waterfront 7 Realty, LLC has been an active member of the Siesta Key Chamber member. Their main office is located on Longboat Key near Publix. Their focus is to service the clients needs of waterfront properties and extending beyond into Sarasota, Longboat Key and Lakewood Ranch. They feel that Siesta Key was the ideal location with the abundance of tourist with daily and weekly rentals surrounding their office location. They call it the Siesta Sunset Branch Office and have 12 great agents ready to serve you. They look forward to offering their market knowledge since the majority of the agents are natives to Sarasota. Stop by to see their new location, grab a cup of coffee/tea or just say hello!!!
Engraved pavers available
Friends of Sarasota County Parks is offering the opportunity to purchase and engrave a paver for the Siesta Key public beach project for $250. Residents and visitors can now leave an impression on the 2011 No. 1 Beach in America. This opportunity will be available through Aug. 30.
These pavers will be installed on the walkway portion of the $21.5 million park upgrades. The 8-inch pavers can be engraved with up to three lines and 60 characters of text, and buyers will receive a certificate and locator map.
The non-profit organization aims to raise $60,000 for shade structures to enhance sports fields throughout the county, according to Friends of Sarasota County Parks Fundraising Consultant Carol Kranitz.
2015 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition
This November 13-17, twenty-four of the premier master sand sculptors from all over the world will once again be competing for 1st place on the #1 beach. The Siesta Key Crystal Classic has become a favorite of many of the professional sand sculptors who have competed here. Citing the beauty and cleanliness of the pristine white sand, sculptors have remarked that their sculptures look almost as if they are “carved in marble.”
Information regarding sponsorship is now available on the website as well applications for our popular Vendor Village: www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.
For more information about Siesta Key Crystal Classic contact the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce.
Big Pass dredging peer review update
The county has moved ahead and contracted with Atkins North America Inc. for $49,000 to review the Army Corps of Engineers’ (ACOE) plans to harvest sand from the Big Pass Shoal for the Lido Beach renourishment project.
In an email to County Administrator Tom Harmer from Manager of Development Services and Environmental Protection Matt Osterhoudt in early June, “We expect the consulting firm Atkins North America, Inc., to complete the peer review by the end of September 2015.”
The county is spending the money for the review at the urging of the Siesta Key Association.
The ACOE has stated in permitting documents that the renourishment would have no significant effect on Siesta Key beaches. The Big Pass Shoal renourishes Siesta Key beach naturally.
Siesta Key Association (SKA) is working for a DO NO HARM solution for Siesta Key and Big Pass
The Lido Key/City of Sarasota renourishment and Hurricane Mitigation Project is now being reviewed by the State of Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). SKA received the permit application submitted by the ACOE. The only agency who may authorize the ACOE plan for dredging and renourishment is the DEP through their coastal permit process. The permitting process is likely to continue into 2016.
The ACOE may not apply for funding through Congress without a completed EA or EIS. There is no federal funding allocated for this project. The ACOE reports it may be until 2017 before funding can be requested. There is not yet a completed EA with a finding of no significant impact. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is preferred due to the complexity of the environmental impact and is being sought by SKA. Impact to Big Pass, Lido County Park, Siesta Key, the navigational channel, marine and bird wildlife, and shoreline studies have not been thoroughly evaluated to determine an EA will have a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).
An independent peer review, requested by SKA and approved by the Board of County Commissioners up to $50,000, is being developed to provide additional environmental impact data for the current ACOE plan.
Routine Traffic stop
In mid-June, an occupant of a black Mitsubishi was arrested on a drug charge on Ocean Blvd. The arrest was made by the deputy who monitors speed in the north end of the Village in the morning hours.
Siesta Key Chamber news
The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce has hired Mia Leone as the Visitors Center Manager. Leone started on June 23rd. The Chamber office is located in the Village at 5114 Ocean Blvd.
Javier’s Restaurant and Wine Bar
Owners Javier and Mary Arana have decided to close their popular Peruvian restaurant located on the southern end of the Key. After 27 years in business, they have decided to retire. The property is currently for sale or lease.