The Old Englewood Village Association (OEVA) Board of Directors has gone through some changes over the past year, and that includes many new board members and new leadership within the organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many events to be canceled for the safety and well-being of residents, visitors, businesses owners, employees, and the OEVA volunteers. While the Englewood Farmers Market, the Dearborn Market, and the Sunday Farmer’s Market have returned to Dearborn Street, there are several events that have had to be put on hold. Events like Cruisin’ on Dearborn, the Halloween Safe Walk, and the Englewood Fine Art Festival.
The OEVA Board members are taking advantage of this lull by looking at the organization, its structure, and its mission and goals as it pertains to the residents and businesses of Englewood. They are questioning themselves and reflecting on how they can best represent the vision of the community, and how to make Englewood a place in which residents relish living and where businesses can prosper, without taking away the small town feel that makes Englewood so unique.
The following are some initiatives that the board is either working on or are already in development.
Public Opinion Survey
Plans are in place to develop a survey to send out in January to area residents and businesses to better understand their feelings about the area, their understanding of coming improvements and changes to Old Englewood Village, and to find out what kind of improvements, support, and events they would like to see.
Website and Social Media Presence
In September, the OEVA Board of Directors launched a new website. The website is very mobile friendly and can be installed as an app on the user’s mobile device utilizing progressive web app technology. This website was designed to bring a stronger online presence to Englewood with several features that really benefit organizers and businesses in the area and relay relevant information to the residents and visitors of the village.
This website offers better promotion of events in Englewood with an enhanced calendar of events that’s easy to maintain, and that member businesses can utilize to submit and promote special events at their business. It also offers member businesses their own complete page with information, links, contact information and a map with directions.
This website also makes it easier to become and stay a member of the organization, automating registrations and membership renewals complete with automatic advance notifications of expiring memberships.
Residential/Commercial Transition Overlay District
Members of the board have been working with Sarasota County Community Redevelopment Area (CRA), rewriting and clarifying the special zoning overlay for Englewood known as the Residential/Commercial Transition Overlay District (RCTOD) to resurrect a zoning district that could bring home-based art galleries and studios to downtown Englewood. The RCTOD has been in effect for a few years, but the way it was written has made it difficult for people wanting to take advantage of it.
The RCTOD is “intended to encourage such activities as home-based office, art gallery, artist studio and bed and breakfast establishments as well as low-intensity office, professional and institutional uses.” While allowing commercial uses in a residential community, the RCTOD isn’t designed to accommodate intense commercial only uses, such as drug stores or shops with no attached residence. The overlay is designed to encourage the “coordinated development of mixed land uses and activities in a concentrated area to attract both residents and visitors,” according to the regulations.
Dearborn Area Improvements
Hopefully as early as this spring, the Dearborn Street area will start to see already approved pedestrian-friendly improvements, like new lighting and repairs to the existing sidewalks. There are plans for a new bandshell on a newly designed Dearborn Street Plaza (on the 300 block of West Dearborn) as well as streetlights and sidewalks for Arts District north of West Dearborn Street.
Redefining the Rules
The group has written a new policies and procedures document that ensures the organization conducts business as its by-laws define and that will allow the organization to have better transparency and communication.
Are you interested in becoming involved with the Old Englewood Village Association and sharing your talents and expertise to help make Englewood a truly memorable experience? If so, there are General Membership and Free Membership plans. Find out more about this organization, its mission, and your opportunities at www.englewoodfl.org.