The Englewood Community Redevelopment Advisory Board has not met in months. We can blame the coronavirus for that, but believe it’s time to make an effort to get together. A virtual meeting doesn’t seem unreasonable, especially considering the delays in the West Dearborn Street project.
Sarasota County suspended meetings of all its advisory boards in March. The Englewood CRA closed its office to the public at that time, although it has staff that can meet with you if a special request is made. A week or so ago, members said they would know more this week about a meeting and when the office would open.
Meanwhile, the plans to redo sidewalks and parking on West Dearborn are still on hold and a date for work to begin keeps getting pushed back.
In February, the county and Kimley Horn, its partner in the project, said getting easements from West Dearborn and South McCall Road property owners was holding everything up. Those easements are needed for parking on West Dearborn and land for drainage.
Because of those delays the county was looking to start work at both ends of Dearborn, near the intersections with State Road 776 and Old Englewood Road. They were to hold off on working on downtown construction until after the snowbird season. That made sense to us — even though it pushes the project completion date even further down the road.
Now, however, with the months-long hiatus because of the coronavirus, we question how far that schedule has been pushed back and how much progress has been made getting those easements.
The CRA also has to deal with questions about downtown parking when it meets again. The sooner that happens, the better.