Community leaders from Siesta Key, Old Miakka, and the Celery Fields community 

gathered at Gulf Gate Library to discuss concerns over development in the county.(WWSB)

By Michaela Redmond

Published: Jan. 17, 2024 at 10:27 PM EST

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Community leaders from Siesta Key, Old Miakka, 

and the Celery Fields community gathered at Gulf Gate Library to discuss 

concerns over development in the county. The meeting started at 6 p.m. on Wednesday

 and brought out around 50 people.

“Little by little, in fact, I would probably so more than little by little at this point, our 

open areas are being created as new developments. So, that recreational benefits, 

the wildlife benefits, all of that goes away,” said Robert Wright, the Conservation 

Chairman for the Sarasota Audubon Society.

The Audubon’s nature center is located inside the Celery Fields and Wright said its 

an area facing more possible development on an old farm boarding the fields. 

Wright said the Celery Fields are home to an abundance of wildlife and were originally 

created to treat storm water. He said developing on the farm doesn’t make sense.

“It should be preserved in some fashion so that it is going to be compatible with 

maintaining an area with, so you have more area where all these people can recreate

 because that area is actually going to look like the central park of Sarasota County,” said Wright.

Just under a half an hour from the Celery Fields, a mega hotel could be 

making its way to Siesta Key. Lourdes Ramirez, the President of the Siesta Key Community, 

said the proposed hotel is nine stories tall, around 147 units and spreading almost out to the 

sidewalk. The hotel would take over Flavio’s and the surrounding shops.

“This is just going to make it look like Fort Lauderdale or Daytona. It’s going to 

change the whole atmosphere of Siesta Key Village. And the whole belief that 

Siesta Key is a laid-back community. It’s just going to be overly developed,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez said the Key is already over developed and has the highest density 

in all of Sarasota County.

“We are a barrier island with a two-lane road that connects two bridges. You can’t add 

more people to a hurricane prone island,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez hoped the other neighborhoods understood that what happens on Siesta Key 

with the hotel being approved and built, could happened anywhere county wide. 

Ramirez said the developer is expected to submit a formal application next month.

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