Lakewood Ranch Herald

Road improvements started for Lakewood Ranch Waterside

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- With construction already underway to extend Deer Drive and Lorraine Road into Sarasota County to serve the planned 1,425-acre Lakewood Ranch Waterside community, a notice to proceed is expected to be issued Monday to extend Lakewood Ranch Boulevard as well.

All three roads are being extended and four-laned to serve the massive new development previously referred to as the Villages of Lakewood Ranch South.

A formal groundbreaking for Waterside was held April 12. At buildout, Waterside will have 12 neighborhoods clustered around a series of seven lakes.

The name Waterside refers to the development's 20 miles of shoreline and 1,000 acres of lakes.

Planned for Waterside: 5,144 homes and 390,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

Deer Drive and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard will converge on the proposed town center, a dining and shopping district also served by water taxi.

Supervisors of the Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District met Friday to approve the proposed 2016-17 budget, and set a public hearing for Aug. 5.

The budget includes $2.5 million for operations and maintenance, and $24 million for debt service. Budget figures will be transmitted to Manatee and Sarasota counties because the 23,000-acre district straddles the county line.

Waterside road, water, and sewer infrastructure improvements are being funded through a $79.5 million bond issue.

Ultimately, 2.3 miles of Lorraine Road on Schroeder-Manatee Ranch property, and 1.28 miles of the road south of SMR property will be extended and four-laned by the Stewardship District.

Deer Drive, which now ends just south of the campus of The Out-of-Door Academy, will be extended 2.29 miles.

Lakewood Ranch Boulevard will be extended in phases of 1.85 miles and 1.71 miles.

Among actions taken by supervisors Friday on an agenda dominated by dollars, cents and change orders was a $352,844 contract with Florida Power and Light to bury overhead electric lines along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, $30,000 to move neighbors' wooden horse fences off SMR property along Lorraine Road and replace them with white vinyl fences, and approve an easement agreement with The Out-of-Door Academy for the extension of Deer Drive.

In addition, supervisors authorized district staff to begin prequalifying potential contractors to install street lighting in the district.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.

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