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.

(Signed)

The Lake Sarasota Community Group

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