Friday, March 22, 2019

The Town of Longboat Key

Though it is not uncommon to hear the most glowing things said about Longboat Key it is seldom that credit is given where so much credit is due; namely, to the municipality itself - the Corporation of the Town of Longboat Key. It is arguable that the employees of the Corporation - like so many others in the private sector - are expected to work silently, unseen and unnoticed in the background. While this may warrant substance in larger urban centres where anonymity is preferred it nonetheless detracts the well earned accolades to which so many people are fully entitled. I have neither the ability nor the intention of naming individuals but I wish to register my heartfelt approval of the assiduous staff of the Town of Longboat Key. These functionaries sustain the sinews of the municipality in cooperation with the equally attentive commercial and retail conglomerate which likewise contributes to the high standard of the public domaine.

Longboat Key is a town in Manatee and Sarasota counties along the central west coast of the U.S. state of Florida, located on and coterminous with the barrier island of the same name. Longboat Key is south of Anna Maria Island, between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is almost equally divided between Manatee and Sarasota counties. The town of Longboat Key is part of the Bradenton- Sarasota-Venice Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town's population was 6,888 at the 2010 census, down from 7,603 at the 2000 census.

On November 13, 1955 the town was incorporated in a 186 - 13 vote. At the time only about a third of Longboat Key was developed and about 215 people lived there. The town when it was incorporated changed its name from Longbeach to Longboat Key.

In undertaking this dilettante adventure I am mindful of a quip I heard long ago in a movie.  The Lord of the Manor had been visited by an interloper regarding the business of the Manor.  Upon the interloper departing, the Lord proclaimed in resolute disgust, "He had the bloody cheek to comment on me furniture!" I too am aware that I have no entitlement to weigh in upon an assessment of the Corporation and its staff; however my hope is that this low-level pedestrian analysis or high-level abstract review will afford at least a persuasive judgment of a seasonal visitor such as myself.  In defence I can observe that after having lived in a small community for the past forty years I appreciate the direct effect of municipal employees.

In addition to the care and concern of the first-responders it is quite impossible not to be influenced by the near clinical maintenance of the Town of Longboat Key. The sidewalks for example are in pristine condition. This high degree of preservation is echoed by the local landscape companies for the benefit of the adjacent private property owners. It requires but a moment's regard to appreciate the attention to detail afforded by the local contractors for home construction and improvement.

The Town employees practice a civility with respect to the residents. Possibly the gestures are prompted by clinical legal liability issues - and maybe even by a resented obsequiousness.  Nonetheless it is nothing to see a worker shut down the lawn mower or whipper-snipper during the passage of a pedestrian or vehicle. Again this social nicety is reverberated by private contractors when engaged in similar industry. On balance it speaks volumes of the good breeding of public and private constituents. It is the acme of deference to a visitor!

A similar cordiality has insinuated the customs of the local retail merchants and their staff. Quite apart from the well-maintained presentation of the businesses - in some cases almost a "golf club" vernacular -  the superiority of service and politeness is nonpareil. It is no deprivation to restrict one's resort necessities and dining (both formal and casual) to those businesses on the island; indeed many far surpass the standard of reasonableness and extend to superior quality and service.  I include among these shopkeepers those dealing in grocery, clothing, bicycling and hardware. Outstanding dental and spa services (manicures and pedicures) must not be discounted.

Of singular achievement for the Town employees are the local parks. My favourite is Bayfront Park because it is closest to our residence. It is a recurring destination by design.

It is no accident that the Town of Longboat Key enjoys this superior character. It is similarly undeniable that the Town intentionally fulfills a niche attraction and that many of its inhabitants and seasonal interlopers have responded accordingly.

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