HOLMES BEACH -- Holmes Beach residents will soon welcome a $460,000 public landscaping makeover.
Design of the landscaping project for the city is expected to be complete this year, with construction budgeted for fiscal 2014.
The project was adopted by the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2008 as part of its five-year plan and was prioritized for 2013 and 2014.
Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti said funding will be used for a beautification project along State Route 789 (Gulf Drive) that will include sidewalks and bike paths.
The project is creating a buzz in Holmes Beach.
"It's terrific," said Holmes Beach Commissioner Marvin Grossman. "Whatever it does, it's going to be beautiful. It will be a nice entrance to the city. When I first heard about it, we were very excited. It can't help but make the place nicer."
Funding will become available in July and money will have to be authorized by June of 2014, said Michael Howe, executive director for the MPO.
A work session between city officials and MPO and Florida
Department of Transportation staff was held last week to discuss various options for the project. FDOT will design the project once a plan is complete.
"It's a nice project and will do some nice things for that corridor," Howe said.
Debbie Tower, spokeswoman for FDOT, said the project will use federal dollars for design and state transportation dollars for the construction phase. Once the design in complete, the construction work will be put out to bid, Tower said.
"I'd like to see more bike friendly and electric car-friendly things," Grossman said. "It would be great to prepare for our future. If you make something friendly, say for bikes for golf carts, then people will use it."