Gannon Sees Vibrancy, Residents Co-Existing



Editor's Note: This is the third in an eight-part weekly series profiling candidates for Sarasota City Commission.

The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association has always held an unusual position in the balance between neighborhood interests and business advocacy, with its members seeking both preservation of a quality of life for residents who also want to relish an amenity-rich and commercially successful downtown. As organization president Patrick Gannon runs for Sarasota City Commission, he hopes voters want that same balance of interest at the dais at City Hall. “Downtown is truly a mixed-use neighborhood,” he says. “It requires a much more thoughtful approach. You can’t be one-sided in terms of commercial or residential. Condo residents have a special appreciation for what it means to live in this community.”

Gannon is one of eight candidates running for two at-large seats on the commission. Currently serving on the City Planning Board, he boasts civic involvement and political experience, having served two years ago on the steering committee for City Commissioner Liz Alpert’s campaign. He has worked on issues including the sound ordinance, tree canopy rules and planning multi-modal transportation. In each instance, he says the hope has been a Sarasota where a vibrant business and nighttime atmosphere can be achieved without damaging the quality of life. “We have a large generational span of people in town,” he says. “At the same time, we are crafting a set of rules that work. I see the inherent conflict that comes about, but we have addressed it through open communication.” As long as overall shared goals are kept in mind, he says, a vibrant community will result.

He’d like the city to keep a priority of creating workforce housing in town, and sees projects like the BOLD Lofts downtown as positive additions to the city. He notes some conflicts between business and residents have been solved without ordinances changes, noting conversation facilitated with World of Beer and nearby condo owners about how speakers were directed and sound would be contained at that venue. He acknowledges the suddenly booming construction downtown has raised certain overdevelopment concerns, but feels that came after years of recession-related stagnation. He notes many complained around 2008 about a heavy loss in city services, and that only recently has started to reach levels from nearly a decade ago.

A citywide election is scheduled for March 14, with a runoff likely on May 9. Other candidates include: Tahiti Park neighborhood leader Jennifer Ahern-Koch; former Sarasota Mayor Fredd “Glossie” Atkins; former prosecutor Hagen Brody; incumbent Commissioner Susan Chapman; Gulf Business Systems owner Martin Hyde; pedestrian safety advocate Mikael Sandstrom; and former stockbroker Matt Sperling. 

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