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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 7 months ago

New district in town aims to promote business growth

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The Limelight District in Sarasota includes Lime Avenue from Fruitville Road to 12th Street.

Businesses in one section of Sarasota are getting a boost — with a new designation. 

The City of Sarasota now recognizes Lime Avenue from Fruitville Road to 12th Street as “The Limelight District.”

Limelight District President Kim Livengood, of the indoor market The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime, tells Coffee Talk she wants to make the area more attractive to businesses, so she spearheaded the move to create a city-approved district. “I had the idea that we needed to be branded,” she says.

Livengood worked with the city, including Planning Director Steven Cover and Neighborhood Planner Nancy Kelly, on the district. It involved getting buy-in from other businesses in the area, hosting membership meetings, establishing a board for the district and holding board meetings.

The Limelight District board includes Robert Livengood, Jenny Townsend, Brad Bierman, Howard Davis, Barbara Brant, Steve Rowe and Debra Bartlett. (Robert Livengood is an entrepreneur and Kim Livengood's husband.)

Kim Livengood says work on the district has been going on for almost a year. “It’s baby steps,” she says. “We will continue to have membership meetings and work together to build awareness.”

The Limelight District will promote businesses and destinations within and near the district, including Brant’s Used Books, the Humane Society, Jon F. Swift Construction, SpeedPro Imaging, JDub’s Brewing Co., Music Compound, Burgess Signs and Ed Smith Stadium.

As the Limelight District grows, Livengood would like to see restaurants open in the area along with more retail and a coffee shop. Ideally, she’d like to keep it eclectic and local. The district might also grow in size over time to include a larger area of town.

Livengood says, “We’re hoping it brands us better so people are aware of all of the really cool things that are here — the hidden treasures — and make it attractive for more people to start their businesses here.”

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