I have been in Sarasota long enought to remember when the Ringling Shopping Center was lively and fun to visit.
Many folks shopped in the dime store and ate at the lunch counter. The hardware store, Crowders, and later Drury, was chocked full of fascinating items to improve your home.
Of course, Publix was the real star and attracted people from all around to shop for groceries. There was a drugstore in the corner location right in the front entrance, I don't remember for sure, but I think it was an Eckerds drug.
I don't remember all of the various stores but the center was always full and I used it at least once a week on my lunch hour since I worked on Main Street.
It has been sad to watch the declining fortune of this really great location for the past few years. It has gone from a vibrant shopping area to a dreary ghost town.
The people who work in the downtown area and the people who live nearby would patronize and support a vital and modern shopping center in that location.
As for the debate about Walmart, I cannot say what the outcome will be, but I know that despite arguments against Walmart for various reasons, traffic, congestion, killing off small businesses, etc., I know that I love to shop at Walmart and use both the Cattleman Road and Osprey stores.
No matter what is decided, the property needs attention or it will become an eyesore in a lovely town.