SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Around every corner and in many yards near Selby Gardens, there are signs saying “Flowers Not Towers” or “Selby Gardens Not Selby Garage,” showing lots of opposition to the big plans. There are also some signs of support.
Former Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman lives near the Gardens.
“It’s not just the volume of traffic, it’s the type of traffic," said Chapman. "Selby Gardens wants to change its main entrance and exit to Orange Avenue, which is a designated neighborhood street.”
Selby’s 92-million dollar, 10-year project will feature a Sky Garden which will include a five-story parking garage, retail space and a rooftop restaurant. Tens of millions of dollars have already been raised for the project. Selby officials tell us this project is important for the community and visitors, enhancing the botanical garden and increasing the garden’s green space by 50 percent.
“We love this plan, we think it is smart, it will sustain our future, preserve our past and protect our collection,” said Wendy Deming, Chief Operating Officer for Selby Gardens.
A city meeting scheduled for July on these expansion plans has now been pushed back to September so people who are away for the summer will be able to participate. This is being met with a lot of mixed reaction. Selby as well as some city commissioners want to move ahead with this discussion and vote soon, wanting the date to be changed back to July.
“We would appreciate if the date could be changed, it would help financially,” said Deming.
Chapman and other neighbors say the city made the right move in switching the meeting to the later date.
“The comprehensive plan says that you should maximize the opportunity for all citizens to have meaningful involvement in decisions that affect their neighborhood,” said Chapman.
As it stands right now, the city of Sarasota Planning Board will be discussing at a meeting in mid- to late-September.