After years of congestion, America's #1 beach is well on its way to offering more parking. But the $21.5 million project isn't just about creating more parking spaces. Siesta Key Beach is getting an entire facelift to offer more to everyone who visits or resides nearby.
The three-phase project will not only add about 250 parking spaces, but will also expand amenities for beachgoers. The first phase has been completed with a new parking lot added, new tennis courts installed, and a new maintenance building constructed. To cut down on runoff to the new retention pond (added to help with drainage from Beach Road), the newest parking lot was created with a special pervious concrete that allows stormwater to seep right through instead of overflowing the pond.
Unfortunately, the process has not been without its share of glitches. One of the biggest issues: rubberized paint on the tennis courts has already started to bubble up due to moisture underneath. Contractors are now seeking solutions to the problem, but those of us who play tennis know what an uneven court can do to the trajectory of a tennis ball, so we're hopeful that they get things smoothed out soon.
As construction continues with Phase 2, parking can still be a bit tricky. The main entrance to the beach now serves as an exit as well, and some people may get confused by the divergent arrows on the asphalt pointing in two different directions. Fortunately it's only temporary, and contractors say they're on schedule to have a more cohesive parking arrangement, with 108 new parking spaces available by the Siesta Key Crystal Classic sand sculpting competition this weekend.
Another exciting feature of Phase 2 is the construction of the new concession building. 83 piles have already been driven to support the raised structure, which will offer a spectacular view of sunsets from 16 feet above the sand. The historic concession pavilion will be restored in Phase 3 to include more concessions and offices.
When the entire project is complete in December 2015, Siesta Key Beach will become a world-class destination. Installation has begun on new playground equipment, and a pedestrian esplanade will connect the park from east to west. With the removal of 20 invasive Australian Pines (to be replaced with over 400 native plant species, including Sabal Palms and Green Buttonwoods for shade), the Siesta Key Beach upgrades are making America's #1 beach more Florida-friendly and more visitor-friendly. Even with the construction and temporary complications, it's exciting to watch the metamorphosis taking place.
Julian is a happy Sarasota resident and your go-to guy for information about the perks of living in paradise. For more, get in touch with Julian directly via the Sarasota Property Finders Contact Page.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist