ANNA MARIA -- The Anna Maria Historic Green Village will soon get some shine on the small screen through an upcoming WEDU PBS documentary.
Titled "Historic Green Village: Generating The Future, Treasuring The Past," the half-hour program details the village's development into a place with the highest possible green building standard, known as Platinum LEED. A preview party for the documentary will be held Thursday starting at 5:45 p.m. at Relish Café & Market Place, 503 Pine Ave. The event is open to the public.
"I'm really pleased," said Lizzie Vann, co-owner and developer of the Anna Maria Historic Green Village, in reference to the documentary airing nationwide on Earth Day, April 22. "It's a very accurate portrayal of what happened, and there's a lot of local history covered."
Vann and her ex-husband Mike Thrasher, who are from the United Kingdom, spearheaded the development of the village, which currently houses a few businesses including Relish Café, AMI Outfitters and Hometown Desserts. On top of the businesses' roofs are solar panels, and the village boasts achieving Net Zero Energy cumulatively during its first 18 months of operation.
"It has glitches every now and then, but we all resolve them as a team," Vann said, adding that the village also takes groundwater from 450 feet below and uses its cool temperatures to cool down the air conditioning units.
"They've (Vann and Thrasher) set a tremendous high wall for what you can do with historical preservation in conjunction with green construction and the epitome of energy use," said Ed Chiles, head of the Chiles Restaurant Group. The restaurateur added that the village has been a tremendous help in boosting the city of Anna Maria's business district. "They added a tremendous amount of character and value to it."
Inside Relish Café & Market Place on Wednesday afternoon, owner Rhonda N. Grote buzzed around her business. For weeks, the 40-year-old has been preparing for the preview party, which will feature a mini-Southern style buffet and appetizers. Grote can list the ways her business is green: she uses eco-friendly to-go boxes and recycles to the max. Then there's the eco-friendly coffee cups.
"That's really important now," she said. "I have mothers who say 'If it's styrofoam, I don't want it.' And I'm like, 'I don't have styrofoam. I'm eco-friendly!' "
Fifty-eight-year-old Steve Traves, owner of AMI Outfitters at 505 Pine Ave., sells everything from fishing and kayak gear to apparel from brands such as Columbia and Patagonia.
"The outdoors industry is very green-oriented," the Cortez resident said. "That's important to me."
Traves, who also sits on the Sarasota Bay Watch Board of Directors, said there's so much opportunity in greenness that people don't take advantage of.
"I'd like to see developers develop whole housing communities based on what they've done here," Traves said." "This is a model for what can be done."
Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.