St. Armands

Residents Association

Carousel in Circle Park

A company has approached the City about installing a Carousel in St. Armands Circle Park.  As presented to Association Board Members, it would not be a stand-alone Carousel:  it would be in a fenced off area with other attractions such as swing sets, see-saws, and selfie booths.  An electric train that traverses the perimeter of the park was also part of the proposal.  It was originally proposed that the Carousel and other attractions could be taken away to make room for the other regular events that are held in the park (e.g. art festivals, car and boat shows, etc...), but we now understand that it is intended to be a fixed attraction.

Our Association Board voted unanimously to not support a Carousel in Circle Park for many reasons, but primarily because of the expected impact on traffic and pedestrian safety, especially on beach days in-season when many consider the Circle roadways to already be impassable.  In fact, the City already has a Special Events Ordinance (see link) which controls the frequency and intensity of events allowed at the Circle Park for this very same reason!  It is our understanding that the Carousel promoter is arguing that the Carousel be considered a "fixed attraction" instead of a "special event" for the purpose of avoiding the provisions of this ordinance.

St. Armands is also designated by City Ordinance as a low-impact "passive park" which should not be suitable to have a permanent carousel.

Here are links to some relevant information and communications in chronological order:

May 2021

Flyer inviting Lido residents (not St. Armands residents) to a community meeting to discuss the Carousel, to be held at the St. Armands Lutheran Church.  Fortunately, St. Armands residents were eventually informed about the meeting one week before and several were able to attend.

September - October, 2021

2021 Member Survey Results

92% oppose a Carousel--along with additional attractions such as swings, see-saws, an electric train, and selfie-booths--all in a fenced-off area located in the St. Armands Circle Park (n=125)

82% oppose a stand-alone Carousel (without any of the additional attractions) in St. Armands Circle Park (n=125)

February 7, 2022

The Carousel promoters went in front of the City Commission during open forum to request that they be placed on an upcoming agenda.

February 17, 2022

This coming Tuesday, February 22, 2022, beginning 9am, the City Commission will discuss allowing a carousel at the St. Armands Circle Park (agenda item XII.1 New Business). This was added to the agenda today, meaning the public was given a whopping five days notice that this would be on the agenda.

February 22, 2022

The City Commission voted 4-1 to have City staff work with the Carousel promoter to determine the viability of installing a permanent carousel at St. Armands Circle Park.

This after many residents emailed the Commissioners to voice their concerns, after a few residents spoke at the meeting, and after the Residents Association, the Merchants Association, and Tom Leonard, the owner of Shore Restaurant and member of the St. Armands BID, all voiced their concerns.

    • Link to video:  click here
    • The carousel agenda item begins at 7:40:33 (fast forward to 7 hours, 40 minutes, 33 seconds)
    • Public comments begin at 7:46:20 (fast forward to 7 hours, 46 minutes, 20 seconds)
    • The vote to move the carousel forward happens at 8:35:37 (fast forward to 8 hours, 35 minutes, 37 seconds)

February 23, 2022

March 21, 2022

Tom Leonard of Shore presents updated amphitheater concept to City Commission.  Commission votes 5-0 to instruct City Staff to determine the viability of this concept at the St. Armands Circle Park.  A large number St. Armands residents spoke against the carousel and in favor of the amphitheater or in leaving the park alone.

      • Link to video:  click here
      • This agenda items starts at 7:36:25 (fast forward to 7 hours, 36 minutes, 25 seconds)
      • Public input starts at 7:45:15 (7 hours, 45 minutes, 15 seconds)
      • The vote to instruct staff to investigate is at 8:24:10 (8 hours, 24 minutes, 10 seconds)

It was discussed during the meeting that the Circle Park is in the National Historic Registry and that it's therefore possible that nothing may be installed there:

May 31, 2022

City Staff determination that any development in the Circle Park is not feasible:  click here

St. Armands Residents Association

P.O. Box 2482, Sarasota, FL  34230

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