University of Florida Ranked Number 1 Public University

Congratulations to Florida. The high ranking of our Universities is a credit to the State. It is important for economic development - our graduates are an important part of creating successful businesses.

The Wall Street Journal named the University of Florida the No. 1 public university in the country in its “2024 Best Colleges in the U.S.” report.

Interesting Data 


These interesting slides were prepared by Douglas W. Stowell. You can get a full e-copy of these and many more slides by sending a request to: 

August 2023 Economic Development Report

The following is our report for July-August 2023

Our Economic Development information can be found at aka Our Economic Development Reports can be found at

I have been working for some time on developing blogs with embedded books written for children and their parents. They would have the following purposes:

1. Be Entertaining
2. Teach “Green” Sustainability
3. Promote Sustainable Tourism

The Blogs would have links to an EBook, Podcast, and Videos. They are all free. They would be set at a tourist destination where the child can complete the quest. We would explain how the parent can download the book and insert their children's photos into the book. If they wish they can print the book for their children and relatives - before or after they visit.

There is minimal cost for this effort - simply volunteer labor. The program may well qualify for a grant from Visit Sarasota would be possible. If we find an organization that is interested we could jointly approach Ringling College to see if the students would want to assist this effort.

The books could be printed and sold in a gift shop. Possible settings for the books include the Ringling Museum Campus, Ringling College, downtown Sarasota, The Bay, St Armands, and Sarasota beaches and parks.

More info on this effort at:

Economic Development Report July 2023


All of our Economic Development information is on aka As I previously told the Board, I will be leaving the Board once a replacement is found. I will keep working until a replacement is found, and then work with the new VP in transition. My turn over file is on 

Our Economic Development Reports can be found at

Beth and I are in Alaska, and have been on the road for 40 days and forty nights so far so my efforts in ecomomic development have been limited.  Our trip photos and report are at:  I did introduce our VP of Sports E. Ramey to Phil Chiocchio by email. Phil has some very interestering ideas for the development a major development on the Bay promoting wheeled sports. I told them I would be glad to work with them.

Our City and County conduct most of their economic development efforts through our Economic Development Corporation at 301 N Cattlemen Rd, #203, Sarasota, FL 34232.  

The City of Sarasota also maintains an office for economic development.  Their programs are shown on the graphic below.  You can find out more about them on the link above.

Our draft book about Sister Cities is online.  We are slowly improving it.


Sixty Years of Citizen Diplomacy

Thanks to all those who have contributed to the book. You can find the book on our Economic Development Site,, and at  Your review and recommendations for revision are welcome.

The following blogs were used by Sarasota Sister Cities.
Some of them are still in use today, others are of value
for the history of the organization.

Sister City Blogs

Sustainable Economic Development



Communication / Social Media


Sarasota Ranked No. 5 Best Place To Live


Sarasota ranked No. 5 best place to live and climbing

Moving four spots to rank No. 5 in the U.S. News & World Report Best Places to Live Ranking, Sarasota sets its sights on dethroning Green Bay.

Sarasota’s No. 5 position is up four from last year. U.S. News & World Report also ranks the city No. 11 in Best Places to Retire, No. 2 in Fastest Growing Places and No. 7 in Safest Places to Live.

Two Way Web Cam Feeds With Audio

Nice meeting you today at the Manasota Neighborhood Summit at Robert L.Taylor Community Center after my presentation for Siesta Key Association’s Mini Reefs.

I had mentioned setting up multiple 24/7 live, two way web cam feeds with the nine sister cities. Walk by and say hi and they say how’s the weather.

Maybe nine TVs placed inside window displays near each other with descriptive signage on Main Street with the microphone and speaker hidden in the overhang would allow everyone walking by to stop and say hello. Stores gets more foot traffic and world wide exposure. (Outdoor sidewalk audio might be illegal) Market it as the Sister Ciy Walk area.

Or build nine city kiosks in a circle and put them down by our Bayfront Kissing Statue and any tourism park at the sister cities. Market it as the Sister City Circle.

There is electricity already along that mound from the first Season of Sculpture in 2000. So you could just plug them in and turn them on. It would
Be good if all nine cities joined in.

I’m guessing the cost would be the monthly WIFI service, nine small computers, TV sets, cameras, speakers, microphones, store window mountings or build waterproof art sculpture kiosks, electricity account. Equipment would not need to be brand new. Certified older equipment would be fine.

Anyhow, let me know if you want to continue the brainstorm.

Phil Chiocchio

Former Ringling College of Art and Design, Department of Computer Animation, Instructor and Video Coordinator

Former Coordinator of Broadcasting, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Department's of Fisheries and Center for Aquatic Plants.

Currently Producing Sponsor, International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Currently Producer/Editor, Skateboarding Bros Show

Currently Initiator & Co-Director Siesta Key Association’s Grand Canal Regeneration Project

Excellent idea, Phil. I will post it to my blog and present it to the Board.

The Bay


The Bay Sarasota


Click to read more about The Bay Sarasota

The BPIB unanimously approved a $48MM capital improvement project to develop Phase 2 of The Bay

In a 5-0 vote on Wednesday, September 14, the Bay Park Improvement Board (BPIB) unanimously approved a $48 million capital improvement project to develop Phase 2 of The Bay. 

Approval of this Phase 2 Capital Improvement project and funding will enable The Bay Park Conservancy to complete the circle of the new and improved public park, south of the 10th St public boat launch over the next 4 years from 2023 to 2026. 

The City of Sarasota and Sarasota County created a new tax increment financing (TIF) district in 2020 to capture increases in property tax revenue from within the district’s boundaries, setting aside those funds for capital improvement projects for the redevelopment of 53 acres of city-owned land. These TIF revenues may only be used for capital improvements at the park, a portion of a new Sarasota Performing Arts Center, and bicycle, pedestrian, and multimodal facilities within the district. 

“As we approach the Grand Opening of The Bay, this milestone approval by the Bay Park Improvement Board enables The Bay Park Conservancy to accelerate the construction of the park and open more park – faster and for the benefit of the entire community,” said AG Lafley, Founding CEO of the Bay Park Conservancy.

Following the September 14 approval, The Bay Park will present these Capital Improvement Plans and Projects to the City Commission on October 3, and the Board of County Commissioners on October 11.  

For more information about the TIF, please view the following informational video:


Thank YOU!
The Bay is the BEST Public Space in Sarasota!

The Bay was voted as Best Public Space by readers in SRQ Magazine's 2023 Best of SRQ Local Readers' Competition! Thank you for loving and enjoying The Bay!

Best Public Space | Platinum

Best Park for Kids | Silver Award

Best Children's Attraction
Ibis Playground | Honorable Mention

Learn More!

The Bay is the BEST Place to Celebrate!
¡Viva! Latino Week at The Bay Continues

Register Now for ¡Viva! Latino Events

Plus! Keep the feeling going and celebrate Cinco De Mayo on May 5th with Happy Hour all day ($2 off alcoholic beverages) at The Nest!


Cintia Elenstar, Executive Director of UnidosNow,
Loves The Bay! 


This Week's Trifecta:
Music + Dance + Cinema!


Sundays at The Bay:
Local Honey

Sunday, April 30, 6pm

Dance at The Bay:
Extended !Bailando! at The Bay: Salsa

Wednesday, May 3, 6:30pm

Cinema at The Bay:
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Thursday, May 4, 8pm

See All Music
See All Dance
See All Cinema

Announcing New Members to The Bay Team

The Bay Park Conservancy continues to add leadership, experience and expertise to the BPC Board and staff. Tony Gamelin, Jeff Jackson and Jennifer Jorgensen join the board and Ron Hamilton provides HR capability to the team.

Read More!

Coming Up:
May the 4th
Be With You Day

Thursday, May 4 | 8pm

Celebrate Star Wars Day with a screening of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Wear a festive costume for a chance to win a prize. Popcorn, candy, Margaritas, and other treats will be available for purchase at The Nest.

Register Now!

Watch It! at The Bay:
Kentucky Derby

Saturday, May 6 | 6:45pm

Enjoy watching the first of the Triple Crown races on the LED Screen at The Bay! Enjoy Happy Hour ($2 off all alcoholic beverages) all day at The Nest.