RiseMagazine | Sarasota

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities

After Days Gone By Rain…

After hearing a spoken word piece performed by the phenomenal Sunni Patterson, I found a surprisingly resonant sentiment to a line of her prose that asked:

Why are we stuck standing like a puddle of dirty water after days gone by rain?

Why are we stuck standing like a puddle of dirty water after days gone by rain?

As I drove down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, I surveyed the land that progress forgot (aka Newtown) and suddenly Ms. Pattersons’ cryptic inquiry went from clever word-play to painful relevance. Newtown has been milked for its’ economic disparity and then left to rot for over 20 years. That’s 20 years for the stench of this now over-ripe fruit to reach our noses… now, near the end, it’s becoming all too clear the intent.

The city of Sarasota has grown and flourished and built itself up to become one of the country’s premiere destinations. From the quartz-white sands of Siesta Key Beach (the #1 beach in the country!) to the vibrant attractions of St. Armand’s Circle…from the shining purple gem of the performing arts known as the Van Wezel to the ever-growing campuses of the world renowned Ringling Arts School…to the affluent lifestyle evidently coursing through downtown Main Street through Five Points and Burns Court and the Pineapple District. All designed to attract both tourist and citizen alike!

So, “why are we stuck standing like a puddle of dirty water after days gone by rain?

* After the city has secured federal financial backing of approximately $2.5 million per year (based on the economic situation within Newtown) for the past 20 years?
* Why does Newtown get new sidewalks, garbage cans and streetlights while downtown gets a new skyline?
* Why can we only get storefront renovations instead of whole business development packages?
* Why aren’t we even represented on the city website…other than a full-width picture of the Robert L. Taylor Complex (and even that’s just the building – not the patrons!)
* Why can’t we even get a street improvement project completed before the funds are re-directed somewhere else?
* Why would we choose to patronize a park that lacks in any enjoyable amenities?
* How long will we leave zoning restrictions in place before we accept that they have played a huge role in the downfall of the existing businesses forced to operate within their restrictions?

There’s a joint community forum being held March 8th at the Harvest Tabernacle Church (209 North Lime Avenue) from 6pm – 8pm. This is a great opportunity to hear the answers to these questions and more as I intend to address them to both Commissioners Willie Charles Shaw (City) and Carolyn Mason (County). I urge each and every one of you reading this message to forward it to your family and friends, whether they can attend or not, to keep them informed of what’s happening and allow them to have their voices heard.

“Why are we stuck standing like a puddle of dirty water after days gone by rain?”

It’s a simple question. The more complex question is what can be done once we refuse to stay still? Motion is a sign of Life and Newtown is full of Life and gaining momentum. The movement is coming and the existing reign is drying up!


One comment on “After Days Gone By Rain…

  1. Cressida Esaw

    A very good question posed, and one of the reasons I moved away, but we as a people have to get mad at ourselves as well. Change is hard, but it is truly long over due!!

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