By John Morton
The Sarasota County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 8 received a list of suggested projects to be funded, at least in part, through the county’s ongoing penny tax, or surtax.
Projects on or near Siesta Key include the upkeep and upgrades at the Phillippi Estate Park buildings, including the historic mansion; the Siesta Beach pavilion; and the Gulf Gate library.
Improvements at Turtle Beach Park and its campground are also on the list at about $2.9 million. Replacement of the campground bath house (featuring restrooms, showers, laundry, and storage facilities) is part of the project.
For about $24 million, the water system on Siesta Key would receive improvements. This includes the replacement of the Stickney Point subaqueous water transmission main, the replacement of a storage tank, and construction of a new pump station.
The county took control of the Key’s potable and waste water in 2013.
Commissioner Christian Ziegler also suggested the county consider investing in an app that notifies residents of the number of parking spots available at Siesta Beach through the use of sensors installed in parking slots.
It’s a program used at Tampa International Airport, he said.
It was among recommendations to the commissioners by the Siesta Key Association. Others included upgrades in crosswalks and bike lanes.
The Siesta Key Association’s mini-reef program also caught the attention of Commissioner Nancy Detert, who asked county staff members to assemble a report on how the reefs could play a larger role in improving water quality and marine habitat throughout the region, and how the county could possibly implement it.
The county will fine-tune projects it selects at a March 29 meeting.
Whether the surtax program continues will go to voters in the form of a referendum question on the November general election ballot. More than 30 years old, it was last renewed by voters in 2007.