Veto list: Redevelopment, walkability projects in Sarasota fall prey to cuts
Image via The Bay Conservancy.

Many projects in the Sarasota-Manatee region were swept up in Gov. DeSantis' mass veto.

Redevelopment and cultural investment in Sarasota took a hit from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen. Cape Coral won’t get millions in expected infrastructure improvements. And pedestrians will have to continue to find a way through ground-level traffic to cross the Tamiami Trail in Bradenton.

DeSantis nixed $500,000 that would have supported The Bay redevelopment, a generational project redefining a cultural district downtown. He also slashed $400,000 that lawmakers set aside for Main Street improvements and another $700,000 similarly budgeted for St. Armands Circle. DeSantis also vetoed $500,000 for a Legacy Trail connection.

“I was surprised those projects were vetoed,” said Rep. Fiona McFarland, a Sarasota Republican. “The city will continue with those projects, but it would have been helpful to receive state funding. Making the city walkable and safe benefits not only the residents of Sarasota but the people who come to visit from all over the state.”

That’s just one of numerous local projects cut from the state’s nearly $110 billion budget. DeSantis, as he mounts a campaign to be re-elected to a second term, killed more than $3 billion in spending approved by the Legislature.

That wasn’t the only hit the greater Sarasota area felt. A $524,000 appropriation was cut for shelter services to at-risk youth at the Safe Children Coalition.

But CEO Brena Slater said she was pleased nonetheless that the Legislature fully funded community-based care providers in the state, and that the funding was spared the veto pen. She thanked local lawmakers and DeSantis for “making the children and families in Florida a priority.”

The Legislature budgeted $1.4 million for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for use at the Historic Spanish Point campus, but the Governor cut that from the final budget.

Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, said the local spending was worthy of lawmakers’ effort to get into the budget.

“Our Sarasota delegation fights hard for community issues and we do our best to deliver funding for a variety of causes,” he said. “Not sure why the Governor vetoed these Sarasota projects but hope to bring them back again next year.”

Further north, DeSantis nixed $2.5 million that would have been used for a pedestrian bridge across U.S. 41 in Manatee County. Some $3 million in state funding for undergrounding utilities in Bradenton Beach also couldn’t burrow past the Governor’s veto power. Another $2 million for flood mitigation in Holmes Beach was washed away.

But Rep. Will Robinson, a Bradenton Republican, noted plenty of regional spending made it into the final budget as well.

“I am so pleased that the budget signed by Gov. DeSantis includes important priorities for the Manatee-Sarasota area, including funds to acquire Rattlesnake Key,” Robinson said.

The budget also included some $9 million in other spending, including $500,000 for sewer lining in Bradenton, $547,000 for manatee rehabilitation at the Bishop Museum, and $2.5 million for clam and seagrass restoration in Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor.

Sen. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican, also felt the region gained more than it lost to the veto pen.

“Sadly a few items did not make the budget,” he said, “and we will work on some of those for next year.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • YYep

    June 10, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    That pic looks like all skyscraper and central park waiting on the rats to visit for that Pizza

Comments are closed.


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