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Archive for August, 2010

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This blog focuses on the Laurel Park neighborhood—we are Laurel Park Management, after all—but more than a little attention should also be paid to our neighbor to the north, Gillespie Park. Gillespie is a funky, diverse, and affordable historic neighborhood featuring many beautiful old Florida homes. LPM has several rental properties in this often overlooked area. Here’s how gillespiepark.com describes it:

With many trees and spacious areas, Gillespie Park is truly the most beautiful of any of the City’s walk-to-town neighborhoods. In its center lies a ten-acre park boasting a grand pavilion, a large meandering lake with fountain, bicycle and walking paths which lead to a playground, tennis courts, and even a lakeside gazebo.

And here’s a quick history of the neighborhood, also from gillespiepark.com:

The name “Gillespie Park” honors John Hamilton Gillespie, first mayor of Sarasota. The Scottish-born aristocrat arrived in 1886 as agent for his father, Sir John Hamilton Gillespie of Edinburgh, a principal in the Florida Mortgage and Investment Co., which filed the Town of Sarasota plat in 1886. Gillespie laid out a golf course in 1886. He worked to fund dredging of a Sarasota Bay channel in 1888, and built a hotel on Main Street. When Sarasota was incorporated in 1902, Gillespie was elected Mayor. He died in 1923 and was buried in the town’s Rosemary Cemetery.

While we think the world of Laurel Park, for those of you who want to live close enough to walk to Main Street but would like an alternative to Laurel Park, we recommend exploring Gillespie Park.

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If you live in Sarasota and have preschool age children, you might want to look into Discovery Days Preschool. Admittedly, we at Laurel Park Management are biased—Discovery Days is owned and run by LPM owner and operator Devin Rutkowski’s wife, Marian—but Discovery Days really does offer a little piece of heaven for the little ones (and more than a little peace of mind for the big ones). If you don’t believe us, go check it out for yourself!

The following is from their website:

Located in downtown Sarasota’s historic Laurel Park neighborhood at 1773 Morrill Street, Discovery Days Preschool offers a quality education in a safe and nurturing environment. Established in 1992, Discovery Days is set in a small, private, 1930s school house. Discovery Days is nationally accredited, and offers limited class sizes led by skilled and caring teachers.

Our intimate campus is a friendly and inviting “home away from home.” Children ages two-five years are welcome to enroll. Our flexible attendance requirements within a full day-full year program offers families the flexibility they need. Discovery Days offers a skillfully prepared curriculum designed to promote cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth in each student.

Activities include hands-on learning experiences that encourage cooperation, creative thinking, and problem solving. Through play, children have the opportunity to explore and interact with their environment, stimulating their enthusiasm for learning.

In an atmosphere of respect and understanding, each child is recognized for their uniqueness. Our goal is to promote the excitement of discovery every day!

For more information, and to schedule a campus visit, please visit discoverydays.net or call Marian Rutkowski at 941-366-7890.

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There are all sorts of debates about architecture. Should houses in a neighborhood all look similar to give the area a sense of cohesion? Is a diversity of styles more desirable? Is the architecture of the past best? Should architecture be more concerned with the future instead? Is architecture about art? Functionality? A building’s relationship to its surrounding environment? Its climate? All of the above?

Sarasota residents love to engage in hearty debates about our fair town/city, and issues surrounding architecture and development are always hot button. Our own neighborhood, Laurel Park, has seen sweeping changes over the past several decades, and is constantly working to find the right balance of development and preservation, of urbanism and village life, of past and future. An article that might be of interest to locals who find themselves concerned with these things is excerpted below…

Is Adaptability More Important Than Art in Architecture?

from qedrealestate.wordpress.com

Something we see every day falls into the background and becomes part of the mundane.  We drive down familiar roads, past the same buildings and rarely notice the things that amazed us the first time we saw them.  I hate to upset my artist friends but that also happens with art.

Recently a friend of mine did an extensive remodel of his apartment.  I know that he is an art lover so I wondered if he was going to buy some new art to go with his updated decor.  “No.  My friend Kenny has a warehouse full of his art that he is tired of and has had in storage for so long so he said that I should just go in there and use what I want.”  Original works of art, costing thousands of dollars losing their impact and being put in storage is just part of what it means to be a work of art, except in architecture.

What happens when you can’t take that art down?  What happens when the piece of art is a monster-sized structure that dazzled the eye because of its size, but now fades into the background?  Can the next generation of users adapt it to their needs?

keep reading at qedrealestate.wordpress.com

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With words like “green” and “sustainability” being thrown around so much these days, we at Laurel Park Management thought it might be good to take a look at what Sarasota is actually doing to become increasingly  “green” and “sustainable.” The following is from the official Sarasota County government website:

Roadmap to Sustainability

Sarasota County acknowledges that sustainability is an interlocking network comprised of everything a community touches. Its Roadmap to Sustainability holistically integrates environmental, societal and economic initiatives, fundamentally shifting the role that governance can play in building a sustainable community and transforming its identity. County Administrator Jim Ley presented his Roadmap to Sustainability to the County Commission on Oct. 22, 2006, as an overview of Sarasota County’s direction.

Below are some examples of how citizens and government of Sarasota County have demonstrated their common commitment toward a leadership role in sustainability.

  • First American county to sign the 2030 Challenge for carbon neutrality
  • First local Florida government to gain LEED building certification
  • All new county construction and renovation must be 50 percent more efficient than standard code requirements
  • First planned Renewable Community Demonstration Project
  • Reduced drinking water consumption per capita by 40 percent
  • Preserved 16,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land
  • First Florida county to adopt a green development ordinance
  • Expedited green building permits to more than 1,300 dwelling units committed to green construction
  • 15 neighborhood NEST programs
  • 28 certified Green Business Partners
  • Recycling programs that have extended the landfill’s 40-year life by 10 years
  • Nine proposed “green rezone” areas containing between 300,000-400,000 square feet of retail space
  • Contractors on county demolition and salvage projects must recycle structural building materials and permit non-profit groups to remove materials that can be reused or resold
  • 10 hybrid transit buses and 15 hybrid pool vehicles, saving over 8,500 gallons of gasoline annually
  • Annual estimated reduction of 50,000 gallons of fossil fuels due to biodiesel fuel blend use in fleet vehicles
  • More than half of Sarasota County employee pledged to change one light in their home to a compact fluorescent bulbs as part of the National Association of Counties’ ENERGY STAR ® Change a Light program, more than any other participating county.

Click here to view the entire Roadmap to Sustainability.

So, those are some of the steps the county is taking…what else can we do, as individuals? As neighbors? As community members and entrepreneurs and parents and citizens? What does a sustainable Sarasota look like to you?

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