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This Week in Sarasota City Hall

Written by on Thursday, November 9, 2023

Airport gets OK for more offices, restaurant, hotel, possibly a garage. And commissioners discuss flag flying and bridge lighting.

By Ramon Lopez

Original Air Date: Nov. 8, 2023

Host: City of Sarasota commissioners had a busy Monday meeting, with votes on airport expansion, and discussion of flag flying and bridge lighting. Ramon Lopez gives us a roundup.

[Construction and jet takeoff noise]

 Ramon Lopez: Those at and around Sarasota Bradenton International Airport – otherwise known as SRQ – will be hearing more heavy equipment noise and jetliner takeoffs and landings. That’s because the Sarasota City Commission on Monday gave final approval for the latest construction plans for SRQ. As with the first reading last month, there was little discussion. The vote was five to nothing in favor.

Aerial view of SRQ.

It’s all part of the airport’s plan to keep up with passenger demand. Four years ago, SRQ saw 1.3 million passengers go through its 13 gates and single concourse. This year, SRQ will handle 4.3 million passengers. Ongoing construction is producing a new terminal wing that should open in December of 2024. Then, the airport will have the capacity for seven million passengers per year. Meanwhile, SRQ is expanding remote parking, and a new $100 million parking structure is on the horizon. The city commission voted unanimously to rezone 88.84 acres of airport property within the Sarasota city limits. The airport encompasses about 100 acres, with 96 acres controlled by the city. The rest is in Manatee County and Sarasota County. The rezoning will allow for more parking, consolidated rental car storage, maintenance operations, and more office space for commercial tenants. There will be a new restaurant and a 60-room, four-story hotel. A new, permanent cell phone lot with bathrooms and a flight display board is also in the offing.

With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that the Federal Aviation Administration recently named SRQ CEO Rick Piccolo the 2022 Air Carrier Airport Manager of the Year.

Flag flying and bridge lighting

Meanwhile, the city commissioners unanimously approved the flying of a Transgender Remembrance Flag at City Hall on Nov. 20. The idea was pitched by Commissioner Debbie Trice and former Commissioner Ken Shelin.

Shelin: The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 to memorialize specifically the murder of two Massachusetts black transgender women in Boston and San Francisco, and such remembrances have spread across the country and internationally since. They obviously memorialize the murders of many more people since that time, many more transgender people. That’s the sad fact of this.

RL: The city commissioners also endorsed the lighting list for the Ringling Causeway Bridge. Five new issues were approved for 2024, including National Gun Violence Awareness in early June, Breast Cancer Awareness in October and Vegan Awareness in early November.

This is Ramon Lopez for WSLR News.


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