Retaining its Number 1 National Ranking
Facility and parking updates are key project elements
It was a warm Sunday recently with plenty of sunshine. So it was no wonder that the beaches would be crowded. But this was Siesta Key, once rated the number one beach in the nation by Dr. Beach. On this day canopied tents could be seen nearly side-by-side in each direction with seemingly unlimited numbers. The sands were also rated as best in the world as a result of the Great International Beach Challenge in 1987. The sand made of white quartz reflects nearly all of the sun’s rays making it a pleasant experience to walk on.
Over the years many factors came into play that began to erode the condition of the beach facilities. Siesta Beach continued its fantastic ride for tourism though and in 2015 was named the number one beach in the United States by TripAdvisor and AARP.
The beach with its facilities are now poised to retain its ranking as the best beach to be found in the nation, and the world. A $21.5 million restoration project started when the citizens of Siesta Key approved the Surtax III Economic Stimulus Program, which implemented a penny sales tax. Plans were set out to complete a project that would enhance the aging facilities built in the 1950s and expand the parking lots.
The designs in 2012 also included an east and west 15-foot wide esplanade of light-colored pavers that reflect the rays of the sun. They also planned for upgraded restrooms. A sheriff and lifeguard building is state of the art. The historic pavilion was restored as a public gathering place. Other improvements were made, a concession stand area was elevated to 19 feet creating a spectacular sunset viewing area, earning its name as the Sunset Deck.
The parking lot was made easier to navigate and increased from 837 parking spaces to 980. Access from Beach Road was also improved. Over 1,300 palm and canopy trees that are native to the area replaced pine trees for aesthetics and less maintenance. Siesta Key Beach continues its tradition as a family-oriented park with new picnic tables and a children’s playground. Most of the park is handicapped accessible with ramps to upper areas and a long travel mat with access to the beachfront.
Siesta Key Beach is one of the safest in the world for families too. On its 100 acres of county-owned property there are highly trained lifeguards with the latest in life-saving equipment posted throughout the year. The shallow waters near the shore make it great for smaller children. Harmful currents are reduced since these depths are consistent along the shoreline.
The beach will continue its annual traditions. The annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic will begin November 11, 2016. For five days spanning that weekend sand-sculpting artists from around the world compete in this outdoor art gallery. There is an opening party on that Tuesday before the competition so you can meet the 24 participating artists. Some of the amateur artists that compete at Siesta Key Beach in an annual May contest go onto their professional careers from there. The Classic attracts over 17,000 visitors from outside of the area according to chamber of commerce statistics, nearly half of the 35,000 sand sculpting attendees.
This year the 7th annual Fiesta on Siesta Key collegiate volleyball tournament was held in April. In that tournament 35 colleges from mostly southeastern United States competed. Siesta Key also participates in the Dig the Beach volleyball series of eight stops in Florida, with two stops held here in mid-May and early July. In this series professional and amateur teams of two compete for prize money and scholarships.
Last week I listed a country-club lifestyle home for sale in Stanhope Gate. I followed that up with marketing my Sarasota homes for sale in my Thursday REALTALK™ #95 video. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of this University Park Country Club home or if you have a property to sell or buy.
|7043 Stanhope Place||$710,000||Photo Slideshow|