Newtown Sarasota gets facelift

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Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 6:21 pm | Updated: 3:55 pm, Sat Dec 28, 2013.

SARASOTA, FL--- New landscaping, new store fronts, and new business, its all part of the City of Sarasota's effort to revitalize the Newtown area.

"We are seeing and drawing the attention of others to this area," said Vice Mayor Willie Shaw.

The city invested more than $60 million to fund improvement projects in the Newtown community.  They include a storefront renovation program, several apartment projects and street landscaping along the MLK corridor.  Something Shaw says was needed.

"You feel better when you look better and this looks good, why should any part of Sarasota look less than any other part," added Shaw.

Rowena Elliott who works at the Newtown Redevelopment Center says the changes go beyond the look of the community.  She says the bigger focus of the revitalization is attracting business.

"We have a lot of new business coming to Newtown and those are projects that were working on to assist with giving them tax breaks wether its on their lights or getting information," added Rowena.

One of those businesses is Janie's Garden Market, it moved into a recently constructed mixed-use building, the former site of a housing project.

"It was a good opportunity, since they were redoing the area.  They put up the building so we decided to put a shop up in here and bring in grocery's food and meats and everything," said Wendy Madeksho the manager at Janie's Garden Market.

And, officials say getting more businesses like Janie's Market is the key to Newtown's economic turnaround.

"The idea is to use the 5 alphabets A- through E, an Attitude change will bring about a Behavioral change, which will bring about a Cultural change which will bring about Decisions that will determine our density, that will bring about an Economic change for everyone in the community", added Shaw.

Still, there are several other revitalization projects in the pipeline and Shaw says they hope is to have them complete by Newtown's 100 year anniversary, which is next 2014.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • joan628 posted at 12:47 pm on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    joan628 Posts: 7

    Yep, Newtown is looking much better, the new buildings , the new trees, but you still can't walk the streets, still can't feel safe in your own home, at night when you want to lay your head down for some sleep,,,,,,,,,oops, not happening because other people want to blast their music for Manatee county to hear,,,,oh and lets not forget about all the trash that the city seems to not "see"!!! Yep, facelift for Newtown, yippee!!!

  • williamthestud posted at 12:22 pm on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    williamthestud Posts: 22

    this is about the 20th time they have tried this


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