by SRQ Magazine

The community is invited to a block party to celebrate the grand re-opening of Paul Thorpe Jr. Park and Lemon Avenue on Friday, March 6, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Paul Thorpe Jr. Park, 135 S. Pineapple Avenue.  The free event will feature live music, refreshments and guided tours of the improvements in the park and along Lemon Avenue, which will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic during the event.

Started in May 2019, the Lemon Avenue Streetscape project was designed to create a more pedestrian-friendly experience in downtown Sarasota.  From Main Street south to Pineapple Avenue, the existing roadway, sidewalks and curbs were removed and replaced with decorative brick pavers, new landscaping and streetlights.  Medallions also were handcrafted in three intersections along Lemon Avenue: Main Street, State Street and Pineapple Avenue.

“These improvements enhance the pedestrian experience and provide a sense of place in downtown,” says Planning Director Steve Cover.  “This environment will attract people who want to stroll, shop, eat and simply enjoy the experience of being in a pedestrian-friendly downtown.  That was the vision when the Lemon Avenue Streetscape was first conceptualized. Now that it’s complete this really helps make downtown Sarasota that much more special, a place people want to be.”

Paul Thorpe Jr. Park was modernized with the installation of pavers, additional trees, seating areas and an impressive trellis, where visitors can walk under flowering vines. The whimsical mermaid fountain remains a focal point of the park. “This park is a perfect tribute to Paul Thorpe, known as ‘Mr. Downtown,’ said City Manager Tom Barwin.  “It is guaranteed to become a popular gathering area for residents and visitors to the Farmers Market or downtown employees seeking a place to enjoy being outside.”

As part of the grand re-opening celebration, The Mark’s public art contribution will be formally unveiled. Complimentary light refreshments will be provided by Brick’s Smoked Meats and the Sarasota Farmers Market.  The block party is also sponsored by Jon F. Swift Construction and Kolter Urban LLC.