Although we saw many interesting things on our walk last week, one thing struck me as special, it was the park itself and how it came to be. Sarasota is a town that is full of tourism and condo buildings, so how was it that this park was preserved for wildlife and nature. Sarasota has other parks but nothing as expansive unless you travel out to Mayakka State park.
when I looked into this further, I found that surprisingly, South Lido park only exists today because of a failed development project. in the early 1920s, John ringing bought a series of uninhited islands in the sarasota bay to convert into the “Ringling Isles”. He had a grand maser plan which included several things that are not in existence today including The Ritz Carlton on longboat key, a casino, a winter home for the 29th president Harding, and the development of South Lido, North Lido and all of Coon Key. Ringling had all the plans made and most of the streets had been put in and some shops and statues were up on St Aramands. By this time it was 1926 and florida unexpectedly hit a land bust. The project was abandoned with a newly build causeway leading to almost nothing.
With streets barren and abandoned buildings including the long boat key ritz carlton Things stayed pretty much the same until the late 1960s. the vision of ringing began to come true only recently when developers began building again but this time with the added awareness of how special sarasota wildlife was, they never completed any of the unfinished roads on lido key. or to coon key.
Without the land bust of the 1920s, we would probably have no wildlife or recreational area out in the Sarasota bay.