On Saturday, Feb. 20th, there was a public grand opening celebration of the completion of an enormous 24 month, $21 million makeover of the facilities at one of America’s most recognized and awarded beaches, Siesta Key Beach. This is the beach that was ranked by TripAdvisor as the “USA Traveler’s Choice for Best Beach” in 2015.
When property that is now Siesta Key Public Beach was originally purchased by Sarasota County in the early 1950’s it was only 9 acres in size with just 1,200 feet of waterfront. Today, with help from Mother Nature and additional purchases over the years, the beach has grown to over 100 acres of some of the finest white, sugary quartz sand on the planet.
The makeover unveiled this month is the culmination of two years of construction and nearly a decade of planning consulting and arranging of funding. Included in the makeover were restoration of the historic pavilion built in the 1950’s, renovation of the public restrooms, improved access and increased parking as well as installation of more native plant landscaping making the area much more attractive visually. Other highlights of the project are the completion of a 15-foot wide pedestrian esplanade running the length of the park replacing the old rope fence that once separated the beach area from the parking lot and over 20 picnic shelters.
Clearly, however, the piece de resistance” of the 2 years of work is the new elevated concession stand, which offers a stunning views from 20 feet above the beach. While the views are stunning all the time, they are particularly stunning at sunset
The public parking area which has been woefully inadequate now has more than a 140 new parking spaces. New tennis courts have been added along with a brand new playground designed to look like to children like a giant sandcastle. Additionally, a public safety facility has been added to the concessions building providing needed space for lifeguards and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Many will probably still come to Siesta Beach just to enjoy the soft white sand and the warm clear waters. Others, however, will now find Siesta Beach a much more accommodating place where families can enjoy a picnic, play a game of tennis or volleyball, or watch children build a sandcastle on the beach or romp on the new playground equipment. Everyone, though, will surely enjoy one of Sarasota Florida’s most endearing features; a beautiful “Another Sunny Day at the Beach."