Paying for the wall

 PHOTO PROVIDED   Englewood residents Dave Fedder, Steve Walmsley, Sandi Fedder and Harvey White are members of the Overbrook Gardens 776 Wall Project Committee. They’re trying to raise $140,000 to replace decaying wooden fences surrounding their neighborhood with a concrete wall.

PHOTO PROVIDED
Englewood residents Dave Fedder, Steve Walmsley, Sandi Fedder and Harvey White are members of the Overbrook Gardens 776 Wall Project Committee. They’re trying to raise $140,000 to replace decaying wooden fences surrounding their neighborhood with a concrete wall.

ENGLEWOOD — Property owners at Overbrook Gardens are taking matters into their own hands.

After learning they didn’t qualify for a neighborhood initiative grant from Sarasota County, they’re raising the $140,000 needed to build a concrete wall around their neighborhood to replace deteriorating wood fences.

There’s an ice cream social and benefit concert in the works.

They intend to get it done.

At least some of them do. Not everyone is sold on the project.

Permacast, a Manatee County-based concrete fence company, will build the wall in two phases — north and south walls, respectively.

Some residents want to wait for the north wall to be completed before signing off on the south, said Dave Fedder, Overbrook Gardens resident and chairman of the Overbrook Gardens 776 Wall Project.

Residents have raised the $50,000 required to start phase one of the project in April. Fundraising is under way for phase two starting with a concert by glass harpist Paul Meisser and an ice cream social at 6 p.m. April 20 at New Hope Baptist Church, 2100 Englewood Road. The public is invited.

The wall will measure about 1,500 feet total and will be 8 feet high and 4 inches thick.

“We don’t have walls like any other neighborhood,” said Fedder. “We have wood fences that are giving way.”

Fedder said the group secured easements from residents granting permission to build the wall.

The wall committee tried to get funding from Sarasota County, but discovered it did not meet criteria for the Sarasota County Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program. The grant program is one of the strategic initiatives adopted by the Sarasota County Commission to help residents enhance their neighborhoods’ character, value, safety, health and infrastructure. To learn more about it, go to https://www.scgov.net/NeighborhoodServices/Pages/Neighborhood Grants.aspx.

“We sent out letters to all 500 property owners,” said Maria Hallabrin, vice president of Overbrook Gardens Association. “The county has grants for community projects but the county didn’t feel our project met standards.”    Fedder said according to the county, the project doesn’t fall under “public interest.”

Jane Grogg, manager of neighborhood services in Sarasota County, said specifics were never discussed.

“We haven’t heard anything about plans,” Grogg said. “I talked with Overbrook Gardens in the past in general, but nothing specific. The grant program does requires an element of public interest. The land on Overbrook Gardens in regards to the fences lies on private property. The project would also need to be in compliance with right of way laws.”

Nick Solomon of Permacast said the project is not like others he takes.

“Usually the community has the funds set aside completely before contacting us,” Solomon said. “So they decided to contact us hoping that one side can convince the other to adopt it in two phases with the north and south side. Currently we’re only contracted for north side.”

Solomon said 95 percent of the projects he does are privately funded. Permacast is applying for permits with Sarasota County, one for the wall and the other for a right of way.

“We won’t be in the way of traffic,” Solomon said. “We will be doing everything from the inside of the wall.”

Construction for phase one is estimated to take one to two weeks, according to Fedder.

Go to overbrook gardens.com/776Wall Project.htm or call 941-475-8536.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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