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Archive for April, 2011

Our latest featured property is actually multiple properties, all of which are located a short walk or bike ride north of Main Street, toward Ringling College of Art + Design and New College of Florida, and close to the Rosemary District. And you thought Laurel Park Management only offered places to live in Laurel Park.

GILLESPIE PARK

Eight units ranging from studios to a 2BR/2BA bungalow, all located near the public tennis courts in Historic Gillespie Park. Many updates including granite counter tops, central HVAC, and wood floors. These units are unique, private, affordable, and within walking distance of downtown and the bayfront.

For more information, feel free to call or email us. You can also download a rental application (save the blank form after downloading, fill in the blanks, then save again—download Adobe’s free PDF reader if you don’t already have it) and email it back to us. Thanks!

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Questioning The Idea of a Creative Class{photo source}

There’s nothing like times of economic hardship to stir up discussion about a city’s future. Should we revive industry? What kind of industry? Attract the creative class? What exactly does the creative class do? Or is tourism and retirement a safer bet? The asking of such questions always seems to lead to the development of various ideologies that, if adopted correctly, will supposedly bring communities within reach of the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Some experts espouse building quality of place through the experience of the built environment. Some say to lure young bohemians. Often, especially in recent years, the argument revolves around whether or not a city has “it.” Cities, so the logic goes, must be cool in order to prosper. Our current age is one of unequaled mobility in which the new industrial economy is virtual and spaceless and its captains free to choose and change their bases of operation at will. Your city better be cool, or the new prosperity-bringers will go elsewhere.

But is chasing that elusive and ephemeral “cool” a wise policy? For that matter, can “cool” be planned for at all? Bill Fulton wrote a nice piece for New Geography a short while back that encourages cities to focus less on image and more on productivity.

The question is not whether cities must be cool or uncool in order to prosper. Clearly, there are some cities in each camp that prosper, and some cities in each camp that do not. The question is deeper: In both cool and uncool cities, what is the underlying nature of the economy? Does the city simply import money from other places, or does it export goods and services to other places? Because it is this distinction – not cool or uncool – that serves as the dividing line between prosperity that is real and prosperity that is illusory.

Fulton examines retirement communities, which are essentially dependent on a single demographic’s notion of “cool”:

Not long ago, I was interviewing a retired politician in a fast-growing Southern metropolis. Even though he was a good ol’ boy who had never left home, he bore no resentment for the retired Yankees who flooded his town. In fact, he attributed the whole area’s prosperity to them. A retirement community, he said, “is like a high-wage factory. You build 1,000 houses, you have 1,000 households making $90,000 a year. A high-wage factory without the factory.”

Fulton is quick to note, however, that the factory metaphor only goes so far.

The most obvious similarity, as my politician friend pointed out, is that the residents live in town, get steady paychecks to spend locally, and become involved in local life. Like factory workers, retirees can support a whole service economy with their local spending.

But there’s more to a factory-town economy than simply Saturday grocery shopping by the workers. Factories are in the export business, while retirement communities are in the import business. An export economy spins off all kinds of economic benefits that you don’t get from an import economy. A big factory requires lots of suppliers, and tends to stimulate the creation of an economic cluster — a group of businesses that feed off each other and, in time, find new customers outside the region.

A retirement community creates a cluster of suppliers, too. But this cluster tends to be composed of local service-sector businesses that create low-wage jobs and aren’t interested in repackaging their services for export outside the region — retailers, contractors, landscapers and pool-maintenance companies.

He could be talking about Sarasota. For all our assets, and we have many, we are still primarily a tourism and retirement town. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as our village has become a town and now a small city, our needs have changed. Whether or not the city spends our tax money wisely is a legitimate conversation, but the fact is that well-run cities require a strong tax base. Or else a citizenry that takes on the responsibilities typically held by local government.

Above all, though, we need to become less economically dependent on tourism, a fickle industry that contributes most to low-wage jobs, and retirement, which has only been around in its current form for a handful of generations and is now under serious threat. But how? Should we become one of Richard Florida’s Creative Class meccas? Should we build a fancy convention center? Or should we take a different approach, one that plays to our abundant strengths?

It’s time to stop talking about whether towns should be cool or uncool. What really matters is what they are producing. If all they’re producing is some kind of experience that induces people to come to town and spend money, it doesn’t matter how cool the town is; it’s probably not sustainable economically. If, on the other hand, the city is creating and exporting something the world needs – whether that product is cool or uncool – it’s a good bet that both the city and its people will do pretty well for a long time.

Maybe these are the questions we Sarasotans need to continue to answer—what are we producing? What can we start producing? How can we add diversity (and more middle income jobs) to our economy? How can we balance an import economy with local exports?

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{photo source}

Our apologies for being a bit tardy with this post, but we’ve had stars in our eyes! Now that the opening ceremonies, which included a performance at Van Wezel by Harry Connick and his orchestra as well as a film screening at the Sarasota Opera House, are over, the main program of the festival is under way. Lots of great films are waiting to be discovered, some by local students—the next big thing could be here in Sarasota right now, and what’s cooler than being able to say you knew them before they were famous?

Here’s a brief description and history of the festival taken from the official website:

In July 1998, international and independent film enthusiasts founded the Sarasota Film Festival, Inc. (SFF). They sought to create a balanced festival of foreign and domestic film complemented by the participation of the film and entertainment industry.

The following January, SFF launched its first festival. The “mini-festival” featured eight independent films, two premiere screenings, two educational symposiums and a gala fundraiser. Since then, SFF has grown in length (from three days to ten), attendance (from 2,300 attendees to over 45,000) and scope (from 10 screenings to hosting over 200 films and adding nationally-recognized education programs, dozens of  special events, talkbacks and panels with some of the leading voices in film today). Beyond the Festival, SFF has expanded to include year-round activities like the free outdoor Moonlight Movies series in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Venice; Monday Night Movies at the newly-restored Asolo Theater; Screenwriters’ Circle; and more.

Got questions? Want to know more? Here are some answers, also straight from the source.

When is the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival?
The 13th Annual Sarasota Film Festival will take place April 7, 2011 through April 17, 2011

How do I purchase tickets to films and events?
Tickets to all of our films and events are available for purchase online. You may also visit our box office, located in the lobby of the Regal Hollywood 20 Theater at 1993 Main Street. Additionally, Passes and Special Event tickets can be purchased at (941) 366-6200 or Toll Free at 1-866-575-FILM.

When is the Box Office open?
March 18th – April 3rd | Mon-Fri: 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun: 12pm-5pm
April 4th – 8th | Daily: 10am-8pm
April 9th-17th | Daily: 10am-10pm

Where are all of the film screenings and events?
You can find all of our locations and venues listed here.

How much do film tickets cost?
We have a variety of ticketing options for our audience:
INDIVIDUAL
REGULAR FILM TICKET: $12
STUDENT FILM TICKET: $8 with Student ID
MATINEE FILM TICKET: $8 Matinee prices are available Mon-Thurs before 5pm
Children age 12 and younger enter free to youthFEST family films. Tickets required.

PACKAGES
STUDENT PASSPORT: $20 Any 4 regularly-priced film tickets. Student ID required.
DISCOVERY PACKAGE: $50 Any 5 regularly-priced film ticket
FILM BUFF PACKAGE: $90 Any 10 regularly-priced film tickets
FILM FANATIC PACKAGE: $120 Any 15 regularly-priced film tickets
CINEPHILE EXPRESS PASS: $1,000 Unlimited, with preferred seating and access to the Filmmaker Lounge. Also includes: 1 ticket to the Opening Night Film and Party, 1 ticket to Cinema Tropicale Celebration, 1 ticket to Night Under a Thousand Stars – Beach Edition, 1 ticket to Filmmaker Tribute, 1 ticket to Late Night After Party, 1 ticket to the Closing Night Film, 1 ticket to each “In Conversation With” event

What if a film or event I want to see has limited space?
For films with limited space, there is a cash only RUSH line. On a first-in-line basis, people in the RUSH line may be able to purchase seats that are open moments before the film begins.

How can I learn more about all of the SFF films and events?
Information about all of our events and films can be found in our Film Guide. It is availableonline, at our box office, and at many of our local business partners throughout Sarasota.

Does SFF offer any educational programs to students?
Yes. The SFF Outreach & Education Department offers FREE 12 educational programs to students in elementary school through college. To learn more about our educational programming click here.

Can I volunteer to work at the Sarasota Film Festival?
Absolutely! Our volunteer work force is key to the success of festival. You can find out more information about how to volunteer here.

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