Just as the holiday shopping season begins, the Powerball Jackpot in Florida and 41 other states has hit a whopping $425 million. Talk about a Christmas miracle.
That could pay for the Siesta Beach upgrades more than 15 times depending on the figure you believe.
Which brings us to this—often times people who win it big give some of the proceeds to charity or contribute to longstanding civic projects that have been pushed off lean budgets. What Sarasota project or charitible endeavor would you fund if you won the lottery?
Take William R. "Randy" Smith for instance. The Martinsburg, W.Va., resident won a $79 million Powerball jackpot in 2010 and came out with $44 million after taxes from his lump sum. Much of that he gave toward local projects, which makes sense considering Smith was the former Berkeley County Sheriff and was a magistrate judge in the county when he won.
Here's what he did through the foundation he set up, according to The Journal in Martinsburg:
- $1.5 million for a new Berkeley County Recreation Center. Construction on the new facility is expected to start next month;
- $240,000 to Berkeley County emergency services, earmarked to help the county volunteer fire departments;
- $100,000 to Martinsburg city police, half for an advanced live-scan fingerprinting system and the other half for improvements to the police firing range;
- $54,000 for two sport utility vehicles for the Berkeley County Police Reserve, to assist the Sheriff's Department with traffic control, neighborhood watch programs and winter rescue efforts;
- $15,000 for the local Warming Hands and Hearts heating assistance fund, used to help elderly and impoverished county citizens from having to make a "heat or eat" decision;
- $15,000 to Berkeley Senior Services for their In-Home Lighthouse Care Program; and
- $10,000 to the St. Vincent de Paul Society for rent and medical assistance to families in need.
Even after taxes, you'd have near $200 million to play with, so here are some ideas you could fund in Sarasota:
- The $27 million, Siesta Beach improvements
- $2.9 million Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion renovation,
- $100 million Bus Rapid Transit plan
- Fund the Sarasota Police $27 million budget for the year
- Donate the remaining $7.1 million needed to open the Sarasota Museum of Art
- Pay for the State Street Garage for $5 million to $7.1 million
The next drawing is Wednesday, and gamblers in Florida and across the country are flocking to stores to buy their Powerball ticket. All they need to do is drop $2 for a ticket and then choose their lucky numbers.
About 2 million people are expected to enter. Hey, someone will hit the jackpot. Could it be you?
According to Florida Today, the jackpot of $425 million is huge but is does not top the record $656 million.
Again, tell us what in Sarasota you would fund if you won the $425 million Powerball?