“We’ve made the best beach in America even better,” said Carolyn Brown, parks and recreation director for Sarasota County. “This is a legacy project. This is one of the biggest and most significant things we’ve done.”
In 2011, Stephen Leatherman — “Dr. Beach” — made Siesta No. 1 on his annual list of America’s best beaches. The publicity coup of this ranking helped convince Sarasota County to add parking and update facilities on Siesta Key.
More than 1,300 trees were planted at Siesta Beach. These include sabal palms, buttonwood and sea grapes.“All of them are native except for the 12 coconut palms next to the old pavilion,” said Bill Waddill, landscape architect for Kimley-Horn and Associates. “They were part of the original look for the pavilion and we wanted to preserve that.”