Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Open Letter to the Residents of Lake Sarasota

Dear Neighbors,

If you live in Lake Sarasota, you've probably noticed some differences over the past couple of years. A group of neighbors formed the Lake Sarasota Community Group (LSCG) and, working with the county, has accomplished several things. A short list of tangible results would include:
  • New landscaping and signs at Mauna Loa and Westminster
  • New flagpole at Mauna Loa entrance
  • New trees for medians
  • Neighborhood clean-ups each year
  • Citizens Patrol
  • Yards of the Month
  • Traffic calming
  • Fall Festivals
  • Neighborhood Garage Sales
  • Holiday Santa and Caroling.
  • Mauna Loa included in Great American Clean-Up
  • Liasons with Sheriff, Parks, Public Works, Utilities Projects, Neighborhood Services
  • Newsletter (formerly monthly, now quarterly) mailed to the entire 1,600-home community (with the help of business supporters like Mickey Schweitzer).
  • Maintenance of websites for communication on the Net.
Much of this could not have been done without the active support, professional guidance and material assistance of Sarasota County Neighborhood Services along with the dedication of a relatively small group of residents -- many with families and jobs -- who volunteered their time, labor, and funds.

Thanks also to Neighborhood Services, the LSCG still has over $5,000 in grant funds to allocate to neighborhood improvements, as well as several hundred dollars in contributions from residents. The group collects no dues, pays no officers, and has no power either to impose deed restrictions or to them. It is an entirely voluntary organization, which incorporated last year in order to open a bank account.

A number of ideas have been suggested for what to do with the remaining grant money. The county would prefer we use it, at least earmark it for use, before the end of this year (2008).

These ideas include:
  • New and improved front entrance landscaping.
  • Pocket Park / Bus Stop at Hina and Palau
  • Butterfly Garden / play area
People have also shown interest in several other projects or activities that would not include grant funds:
  • Continuation of sidewalks along Lago to Hand
  • CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Training
  • Reinstallation of water pump for Lakeview park
  • Monitoring Water quality of the neighborhood's lakes
  • Following up on trees in medians
  • Programs for children, teens
  • Sharing of neighborhood residents' skills
  • Creating Community Directory (database) of recommended businesses, handipeople, etc.
These and other projects cannot go forward without commitment from the community. The Group needs people -- its officers have remained involved but have served past their appointed times, because our numbers have been so few.

At the upcoming meeting, we'll be making decisions on a variety of important priorities affecting everyone who lives here, and we welcome input from everyone who lives in and cares about Lake Sarasota. Come to Sarasota Baptist, room 100 on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m., and let us know you care about Lake Sarasota.


The Lake Sarasota Community Group

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Landscaping the Entrances

The Lake Sarasota Beautification Committee has bids from two landscapers for the entrances at Mauna Loa and Westminster Blvd. The Committee is authorized to sign a contract, but wished to give the community the opportunity to review the offers and the choice of plants before making a final determination.

Note: The plants here are those that would most likely be part of the landscaping regardless of which landscaper is chosen.

Golden Aster

Diffley and Daughters Dreamscapes, Inc.

Dreamscape Installation at the two entrances to Lake Sarasota - Total: $750.00

Westminster Entrance

Diffley will take the plants from the Mauna Loa entrance and install them in those beds-balancing out both sides & Installing Pine Bark Mulch.

Mauna Loa Entrance

Diffley & Daughters will make both beds identical

We will precut the decorative beds to emphasize them & Install:
2-Double Foxtail-4 ft. behind the Lake Sarasota signs
4-Dwarf Philodendron
6-Flax Lily
6-Golden Aster
4-Indian Hawthorn
Install Pine Bark Mulch

Diffley & Daughters Dreamscapes will also donate our time & services of -- 1 month of watering the beds once a week & 1 year of upkeep on all the beds including-Weed control, edging the beds, & trimming.

We can always work with you if you would like to change things. Also you mentioned the pygmy date palm if you would like to substitute the fox tail palms. We get a price of $125.00 each, they are very nice looking. You would just have to add another $125.00 to the total. One Pygmy date equals the cost of both fox tail palms. We look forward to working with you.

Gold Mound Duranta

Jeff Hibbs Landscape

Total: $1026.80

--Mona Loa Entrance--

Flax Lilly 1 gallon 12
Dwarf Indian Hawthorne 1 gallon 10
Gold Mound Duranta 3 gallon 4
Pygmy Date Palm Triple Stem 15 gallon 2
B+ Cypress Mulch 'Cubic Yard' 1
*Remove Existing Material For Relocation....Reset Boulders...Install New Material...

--Westminster Entrance--

Liriope 'Evergreen Giant' 1 gallon 14
Gold Mound Duranta 3 gallon 10
B+ Cypress Mulch 'Cubic Yard' 2
*Remove Existing Material...
*Relocate Fountain Grass, Areca Palms, Liriope From Mona Loa Entrance...

Double Fox Tail Palm

Double Pygmy Date Palms

Monday, July 28, 2008

What trees are those in the median?

For those wondering what the new trees in the Mauna Loa media might be, there's a visual that might help at our central site.

It's an aerial map with the trees identified, and can be found here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Saturday July 26, 2008

8am – 2:30pm

2:30PM to 3:00PM will be used for policing sites

Bring your discarded household items, yard waste, tree trimmings, junk

& any other garbage or refuse.

Tire and Appliances will be taken at the Tora Place and Brentford Road Site.



Free dumpsters will be available for your convenience at the following locations:

Tora Place and Brentford Road (northwest corner)

7100 Lago Street

(in front of the dog park)

By the Fire House




Saturday, July 19, 2008

Free Wind Inspections might save on Homeowner's Insurance

Potential Savings on Your Homeowner's Insurance…ACT NOW deadline extended to July 31st!

Recently in the media, there have been talks about the My Safe Florida Home free wind inspections. What the inspection offers is a free wind inspection for any Floridian whose residence is a single-family, detached, site built home. Unfortunately mobile homes, manufactured homes, apartments, condominiums, multi-family dwellings and businesses are not eligible for the free inspection but you may schedule one at a cost of $150.00. The legislature's goal of scheduling 400,000 free wind inspections by early August is on schedule to be met. New applications are still being accepted for the free wind inspections and are offered on a first come first serve basis. You can apply over the phone at 866-513-6734 or online by following the link at One of the benefits of receiving a free wind inspection through this program is identifying the potential insurance savings available to you based on the CURRENT structure of your home.

The law requires that the inspection report must comply with the following:

  • Outline improvements that may be made to your home to increase resistance to hurricane wind damage
  • Provide an estimate of how much each improvement would cost to complete
  • Provide an estimate of insurance discounts that may be available (if you provide insurance information at the time you apply)
  • Offer a hurricane resistance rating that shows the home's current ability, and future ability with improvements, to withstand hurricanes
We hope you find this information helpful and trust you will schedule your free wind inspection. The deadline is July 31st! If you would like more information on this program please feel free to contact us at 941-924-0044 or visit

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Residents speak

Some reactions to the new trees on Mauna Loa, and thoughts about what to do with our neighborhood grant funds:

First off I would like to congratulate you on all your endeavors and hard work. We are gone a lot and every time we come back to the neighborhood the improvements stand out. Love the 4 way stops. Traffic seems to have slowed to a much safer speed. Thank you for this.

I do have a couple of suggestions for the grant money. Grant money is not free money, it is tax money that all have paid. This money, in my strong opinion, needs to be spent wisely for all. A party sounds wonderful but will only benefit a few. And I do not think this will go well with the county. There are stipulations for every grant. The landscaping will need continuing care. Can mulch, fertilizer and other landscaping needs be purchased and stored for future use? Gas cards for the volunteer patrol people, mailings for the people that do not use the Internet and are not receiving important announcements? Public education on important issues that need to be addressed through mailings or presentations.

Suzanne M.


I think landscaping material makes good sense, since it will be ongoing forever. Plus our entry is the first impression of the neighborhood and influences the value of the property. It must look good!

Kim D.


We all thought a couple of the medians looked bare on the ends, so after a few more phone calls (Thanks to my hubby, Eric!) with the county, 2 medians are getting more trees in about 2 more weeks !!

Our understanding is that this won't be coming out of grant money.

Our contact is also researching the cost of putting in an extra synthetic material around bottom of trees which lets in water but keeps weeds from growing, which would keep maintenance down and looking nicer longer. The cost of this would have to come out of grant money, so give us your feedback. – Laura M.


I say go for it. Less maintenance the better. – Amy S.


The trees look great.. Love it ... Love it... Sorry I missed yet another meeting.. Sometimes I have to work crazy hours to make ends meet.. You guys are doing a bang up job.. Thank God for the rains this past week.. I love the free water...

Susan R.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thaxton speaking Thursday

FYI: An opportunity to hear Commissioner John Thaxton at the Fruitville 210 neighborhood meeting.

When: Thursday, 6:30 - 7:45 pm

Where: At the Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Rd.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Highlights of July 8th General Meeting

How would you spend $5,000?

The LSCG has over $5,000 in grant funding and is seeking ideas on how to spend it before a December '08 deadline. One idea, to purchase a solar light for the flagpole, was approved at the July 8th meeting.

Other ideas on the table include:
  • Fund a Fall Festival.
  • Develop a mini-neighborhood park on land at Hina and Palau.
  • Add to the landscaping at both the Mauna Loa and Westminster entrances. The Beautification Committee will be looking at possible landscapers and plants.
  • Plan a Christmas Holiday event.
We are still seeking ideas. It was noted that the front entrance signs, which were purchased about a year ago:

are already peeling in places...


There were also several ideas put forward for future meeting agendas. Among those mentioned:
  • Getting a speaker from the County Appraiser's office.
  • An expert on green landscaping from Florida House or the County Extension Office.
  • Learning about neighborhood emergency preparedness. Follow these links for more info: Sarasota CERT, CERT locally, Forming a CERT Team
  • Your idea here _________________

The Mysterious Water Levels of Lakeview Park

The question was also raised as to why the water in Lakeview Park's canals and lake is so far below where it used to be, and why it has become so green. It's possible that an artesian well was capped off. There is also information that the sluice near Bent Tree allowing water to run out of the lake was lowered, which in turn has lowered the entire level of the lake. The Group has asked several members to do some fact finding and report back.

Citizens Patrol Update

Sgt. Scully from the Sheriff's Office was present for citizens patrol training. He also mentioned that the parks department is interested in hearing from organized neighborhoods with concerns involving park safety and policing.

Ted Cover of Citizens Patrol needs volunteers for August shifts. He'll be sending an email but contact Ted if you want to be proactive.

Save Gas

It was also mentioned that on Sundays the 1411 bus will pick people up at the Middlesex bus stop on Bee Ridge and take them out to Siesta Key. For senior citizens the price os $.35 - that's cents, not dollars. There's a deal you don't see every day!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Compare neighborhoods

You can compare a variety of information about neighborhoods simply by going here: and in the box that says "Find Place," enter any zip code.

Zip code 34232 (Fruitville, Florida) real estate house value trends
Zip code 34241 (Lake Sarasota, Florida) real estate house value trends

Zip code 34229 (Osprey, Florida) real estate house value trends

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

General Meeting July 8

The Lake Sarasota Community Group meets at 7 p.m. at Sarasota Baptist Church. Some items will follow from discussions at last month's meeting.

See also these updates on our Google Site: Brick Grill at Lakeview Park Pavilion Taken Down.

Prior to the meeting will be a Citizens Patrol Training session - a half-hour for those wishing to be certified. See here for more info, and please contact Ted Cover if you plan to attend.

How to get to our meeting:

Sarasota Baptist Church is across the street from Lakeview Elementary (Hand Rd from Lago): Go to the end across from the Worship Center and enter via the Admin Offices entrance (You'll see the names on the buildings once you're on that end in the parking lot.) It's in Room #100, which is straight ahead down the hallway when you enter. Real easy to find.

Update from Laura:

Hi Neighbors~
May you have an enjoyable, relaxing 4th of July weekend.
The monthly meeting is July 8th @ 7 pm located in room #100 Sarasota Baptist Church.
Right before the general meeting is another Citizen's Patrol Training at 6:30 pm.
Please call or email our new CP Coordinator, Ted Cover, for more info:
or 379-0758

Agenda items include:

~What next for neighborhood improvements? More landscaping, lighting, a Fall Festival? Please share your ideas. We have some county funding left and funds in the LSCG account to work with.

~What can we do to get more residents motivated to "make a difference"?
Originally brought together with the help of Debbie Marks from Sarasota County Neighborhood Services, our group has enjoyed the benefits of new friendships, a sense of accomplishment and the joy of seeing our neighborhood benefit. We'd like to have more neighbors join our endeavors. The more the merrier!

~We need to elect a new Chairperson to lead our group. Do you have leadership qualities, a sincere desire to make Lake Sarasota a better place to live, and just love people? WE NEED YOU :)

~You've likely noticed the stakes in the medians. Our new trees are finally closer to reality!