Englewood's Dearborn projects still moving forward

Englewood, Florida

By STEVE REILLY Staff Writer

Published in the Englewood Sun

Aug 22, 2020 Updated Aug 22, 2020

Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida revitalization project
Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida revitalization project

ENGLEWOOD — Englewood projects are moving forward, even though the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board has been on a health hiatus due to COVID-19 for months.

Sarasota County commissioners suspended advisory board meetings until further notice due to the health crisis, but a $7 million redesign project for West Dearborn Street is still in the works.

“Things are still moving forward,” said Debbie Marks, the county’s Community Redevelopment manager. Behind the scenes, she said, county staff has been working to bring projects to fruition.

Consulting Kimley-Horn engineers completed a new design for West Dearborn renovation that includes decorative crosswalk pavers, streetlights, landscaping, pedestrian and other streetscaping amenities.

Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida revitalization project
Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida revitalization project

The project is now under review with county procurement staff and county attorneys. Once that review is complete, the project can go out for bid, and once county commissioners approve the contractor, construction can begin.

Construction might begin early next year, Marks suggested. The timing, however, may depend upon the impact of the pandemic and other factors whether to start the Dearborn project in April, after the winter season, or begin it earlier.

Dearborn isn’t the only project in the works.

Stormwater drainage improvements are planned to begin along South McCall Road, as well as pedestrian-friendly improvements, like new lighting and repairs to the existing sidewalks, on the west side of the road. Design plans for the South McCall improvements are now under review and expected to cost $3 million to $3.5 million, according to initial estimates, Marks said.

Plans for a new bandshell for the Pioneer Plaza, on the 300 block of West Dearborn, are now with the county’s Building Department. Also, in 2022, the Redevelopment Board will discuss streetlights and sidewalks for Arts District north of West Dearborn Street.

The Community Redevelopment Agency sunsets in 2029. Despite timing delays for projects due to the COVID-19 virus, the last 10 years of the agency will concentrate most of its funding to pay off its debts, Marks said.

Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida redevelopment project
Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida redevelopment project

The Englewood Community Redevelopment Agency funds itself through tax-increment financing. The TIF financial strategy assumes that property values will increase each year within the redevelopment area. The additional property tax revenues generated from increased property values are then re-channeled back into the redevelopment area to help finance revitalization and other infrastructure projects.

The Englewood Community Redevelopment area includes properties from Forked Creek south to the Sarasota-Charlotte county line, the Paul Morris Industrial Park west to the Sarasota County portion of Manasota Key.

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