SARASOTA COUNTY - The City of Venice unveiled a five and half million dollar road Monday; a thoroughfare they say drastically changes the northeastern part of the city. They say the nearly one and half mile stretch also makes the area safer and will help in the event of shutdown on I-75.
Jacaranda Boulevard has been extended north from Border Road through to Laurel Road.
Thousands have moved out east of I-75 in the area, and thousands more homes are already planned. But for years there was only one way to get there.
North Venice residents huddled under a tent Monday to celebrate the punching through of Jacaranda Boulevard. "It's another escape; another way to get out of here or get food or whatever you need," says resident Harold Dittmar.
For years, there had been only one way in and one way out of the growing area along Laurel Road.
Venice Mayor John Holic says the roughly $5.5 million project was paid for by the growth already there. "The money for the roadway was all impact fees; from Willow Chase, from the Venetian Golf and River Club, from PGT, from Tervis Tumbler, from Nielsen…all the companies that took a chance and built out here."
Dittmar says they expect the area to change even more. "I've lived out here 8 years and it is finally starting to develop. Now that the recession is over there will be more homes and stores out this way."
The larger businesses are continuing to grow. Smaller ones are set to take advantage. Thousands of homes have already been approved for North Venice, just waiting for developers to dig in.
Those who live, work, or now travel through there say it's more than just a road. "It's isolated, but not really isolated. Not any more, it's better."
Local leaders say the project actually came in around a half a million dollars under budget and was done on time.
The new road could also lead to some quicker emergency response times a well. Instead of traveling all the way out Laurel Road and 75, if there as someone at Jacarada and I-75 they could save up to 10 minutes