The Sarasota City Commission's decision on Ringling Boulevard has Patch readers talking.
Here's what some of them had to say about Tuesday's narrow decision on the downtown development plans:
Bruce Miller: "I am not a big Walmart Fan but come on people we need to get that area in shape! And there is something to say about adding 250 jobs to the area. I guess the people in the Alta Vista area are happy with that sorry looking shopping center that is there. There are not many companies that would or could even think about building in that area and making it work. Walmart has the ability to improve that area like few could. It would have been a positive step for an area that needs improvement."
Claire Franklin: "... I disagree. Walmart does not belong in downtown. The jobs it brings are all minimum wage and actually cause a drain on the local economy (because Walmart sends its profits out of the area) and also creates an un-winnable situation for local merchants who cannot compete with a company that size. ..."
Charlie Mac: "People coming together. Commissioner who voted in favor need to be voted out."
John Wright: "OK thanks for keeping that "big box store" out of the neighborhood. For a while there I actually thought that the people from the area really wanted JOBS and WORK!"
gene pollux: "Congratulations. The usual Sarasota shoots itself in the foot theater. That entire area looks like a ghost town/garbage dump, depressing property values etc., so we're better off not having someone....anyone.......developing it."
Jay Vandroff: "just more proof the city is anti business. many may not like Wallmart but look at what they have done to the area, the Lock wood ridge location, a great improvement, north trail, another great improvement to the area which needed improvement. The City has been anti Wallmart from the beginning. Those who complain that Wallmart will take business away from the 'mom and pops' stores, well, not seeing too many of those stores around Ring ling anymore... they left a long time ago.. time to get your heads out of the sand Sarasota....Wallmart is giving the opportunity to improve the area which is needed."
curioso: "It all boils down to whether we follow the laws for development of the town (the comp plan) or let developers and staff throw all that community planning out the window whenever they want at the expense of the residents and traffic congestion creating gridlock on our streets. It now is necessary for citizens to be vigilant constantly to protect themselves against developers AND their own city staff. The rule of law is at stake."
Kathryn Baker: "Imagine that, the Walmart store was voted down. Now Sarasota can continue to point with pride to the Ringling Ghost Town Shopping Center. I would bet that in ten years that creepy old shopping center will still be sitting there with its oddball assortment of little stores that come and go. Well Alta Vista neighbors, you wanted to keep it old and dumpy and you got it."
RB: "Yes, other options are necessary for development of that site, not what was proposed. Code enforcement needs to be exercised to get the buildings back in shape and realistic rents will draw lots of new business in this economy as it struggles to turn around. That is the time when new businesses are able to take a risk and get creative."
What's your take? Post a comment below to join the conversation.
Sign up for the Sarasota Patch email newsletter to stay connected to your community.