Friday's SHT editorial compares the height of the sculpture "Unconditional Surrender" to the height of the hi-rise buildings being built in downtown Sarasota. The point is that there is a lot of discussion about the height of the sculpture but not much about the height of the buildings.
The editorial says:
Sarasotans ....... should look up -- way up -- to a larger aesthetic argument looming on the horizon: the spate of lofty buildings proposed or already under way in the downtown. Far more massive and up to six times taller than "Unconditional Surrender," these developments will greatly impact the visual environment.
To be sure, big buildings aren't unexpected in a downtown core. But Sarasotans have repeatedly expressed a desire for a human-scale city that, above all, won't become "another Fort Lauderdale."
To avoid that wretched comparison, residents will have to fight for smart designs that protect what Southwest Florida is all about: sunlight, fresh air, creativity, and a laid-back grace that just says no to concrete canyons.
These principles matter, whether the subject is a work of art or a new residential tower. They help define character -- a quality as important to a city as it is to a human being. Without it, Sarasota won't improve over time; it will simply mutate into a monstrosity.
We agree with the assessment; Sarasota has always been about character and sense of place. Somehow we are morphing into a generic city of hi-rises with limited views of sky, land and water. The views that we are seeing are concrete canyons.
Why has Sarasota unconditionally surrendered to the lure of big dollars, big buildings and big development? We know there is much sentiment for retaining our character, sense of place and human scale. The last few months have been a mad scramble by the developers to get a place at the table of 18 story developments with little regard for the character of our city.
Our commissioners know the sentiment of the citizens, yet they continue down the road of the concrete canyon. Apparently they have surrendered.
Save Our Sarasota has not surrendered. We will continue to tell our story; a story of Sarasota's rapidly disappearing charm, loss of signature buildings and places, giveaways of public space, and the poor design considerations that have benefited the developers at the expense of the public. We believe that the commissioners need to be held accountable for the dramatic changes that have occurred in Sarasota.
We will continue to "fight for smart designs that protect what Southwest Florida is all about: sunlight, fresh air, creativity, and a laid-back grace that just says no to concrete canyons."