Emergency and government buildings

Longboat Key services offered at each of these buildings and parks

Northern fire department building
Fire Department - The north building constructed in 1994 is slated for renovation projects this year.

While many of the government activities for Longboat Key are housed in the main building at 501 Bay Isles Road, some departments have their buildings away from the town hall. The town hall is conveniently located near the Gulf of Mexico Drive halfway point of the 11-mile stretch. Finance, human resources, information technology, planning, zoning, building, town clerk and utility billing all have their departments in this 18,622 square foot building constructed in 1974.

Town manager Tom Harmer has an office there and the town commission has their meetings the first Monday of each month in the town hall. A meet-and-greet of the seven member panel will be held May 6. The commission also conducts workshops once a month including a two-day workshop April 24-25 to discuss lighting laws that protect sea turtle nesting sites. Restrictions on exterior lighting are put in place each May through October when the turtles are in their peak nesting months.

Although utility billing is handled from the town hall office, the public works department is at 600 General Harris Street by the Christ Church of Longboat Key, the barrier island’s northern end. This department is responsible for street maintenance, parks, beaches, utilities and garbage collection. Water and sewer concerns are also handled through public works with an after hour emergency number at (941) 316-1977. The town water plant is located at 4250 Gulf of Mexico, just south of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church.

The Longboat Library is the next-door neighbor to the town hall at 555 Bay Isles Road. This all-volunteer staff controls a large assortment of books and audio CDs, with membership fees to cover costs. The Longboat Key government provides no funding to the library. Internet access through library computers are connected to printers for patron convenience. At 2,300 square feet, the library was built in 1971. There is a proposal to replace the library with an arts, culture and education center and a small black box theatre. Another favored site proposal is the old Amore Restaurant site behind the Publix shopping center plaza. The town is working in cooperation with the Ringling College of Art and Design for the proposed center.

The town operates two fire department buildings and one precinct for police protection. The northern end of Longboat Key is protected by the fire and rescue staff at 5490 Gulf of Mexico Drive while protection of the lower end is at 2162 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Fire and rescue operates on three shifts daily with 33 employees, seven per shift and two lieutenants and one deputy chief. For the past 19 years Paul B. Dezzi has been the fire chief. The fire department was formed as a volunteer organization in 1953. A $1 million renovation of the 1994 northern building and replacement of the 1986 south end building is expected to start this year.

Police department building
Police Department - 5460 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

The police department building is next to the northern fire station at 5460 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Longboat Key came in second place, rated among the safest places to live in Florida, ranked by HomeSnacks. Police Chief Pete Cumming oversees 20 sworn officers, one reserve officer, seven civilian personnel and one part-time beach patrol officer. The department maintains a marine patrol to assist the coast guard and sheriff’s department to ensure safe boating operation on Sarasota Bay and intracoastal waterways.

Longboat Key maintains five parks from Overlook Park and Quick Point Nature Preserve on the south to Joan M. Durante Park on the north. Tennis and nature are big on Longboat Key so the Public Tennis Center by the town hall gets a lot of usage. Nature abounds in the Bayfront and Bicentennial parks.

The Bayfront Park Recreation Center building at 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive offers a 1,350 square foot activity room to rent for parties, wedding receptions or meetings. Pilates, yoga, dance and physical fitness training are on a daily schedule when the building isn’t rented. The park has many other amenities including dog parks, one for small and one for larger dogs. Tennis, basketball, pickleball, shuffleboard and a multi-purpose field are designed into the plans of this park. You can rent kayaks from the private operators Happy Paddler Kayak Tours & Ecoventures. You can store your own kayak on-site for a fee. The pavilion is available for rent as a picnic site. Most recently the town created a Gulf of Mexico beachfront park across the street.

Recreation Center building
Recreation Center - With activity room to rent.

To help preserve the history of the United States, Bicentennial Park was dedicated in 1976 as a one-acre conservatory park with native plants, just west of the town hall. More to the north Joan M. Durante Park is a 32-acre site with Florida natural trees. Invasive exotic plants were eradicated through a federal grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Driving over the New Pass bridge you are greeted to Longboat Key by Quick Point Nature Preserve on the right and Overlook Park on the left, a popular fishing spot on Longboat Key.

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Address List Price Media Slideshow
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