Importance of Newtown Redevelopment Initiative

  • By Duhane Lindo
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SARASOTA, Fla. -- A road improvement project on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Sarasota is underway, and it's part of a larger community redevelopment initiative.

Phase One of the Newtown Streetscape Project started this week along MLK Way corridor. The initiative was approved in November of last year and has a budget of a little over $500,000.

"We are going to be focusing on removing some of the bulb-outs; and the second phase, which will be more extensive, will be expanding the roadways, expanding the street walk and doing some more extensive streetscaping," says Lorna Alston, general manager of North Sarasota Development.

But these changes go beyond the look of the community. Alford says the bigger focus of this revitalization is to modernize this section of Newtown. "It hasn't been done in 20 years, and my line to everyone is that 20 years ago it was a great idea to do what we've done; now we have to bring the community up to another level as a main corridor for activity for our community.”

And now MLK Way in the Newtown community has become the focal point. "We're working on Myrtle Street, we've done Orange Avenue, and it’s important that MLK be brought up to another level in terms of beautification,” says Alston.

Residents and business owners in the community will also have a forum to voice their concerns with the project. "We actually had a community walk where we asked citizens to walk with us and communicate with us on some of the things they wanted to see at that first phase, and we certainly will do that for the second phase as well."