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Transportation

Airports

Major highways and state roads

  • I-75.svg Interstate 75 — North-south limited-access freeway, and has ten interchanges within Sarasota County. Major north-south highway in Sarasota County. It is the high-speed connection with other cities such as Tampa, Florida and Fort Myers, Florida. Interstate 75 heads east in Southern Sarasota County through North Port, Florida to cross Charlotte Harbor at a more manageable length.
  • US 41.svg U.S. Highway 41 — The main north-south road through the county is known as Tamiami Trail. It was created in the 1920s to connect Tampa with Miami, hence the contracted name. It runs through the county close to the coastline and is not limited-access.
  • US 301.svg U.S. Highway 301 — This highway begins in the city of Sarasota, east of Tamiami Trail, and runs north-south through the county.
  • Florida 789.svg State Road 789 — Gulf of Mexico Drive
  • As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 325,957 people, 149,937 households, and 94,460 families residing in the county. The population density was 570 people per square mile (220/km2). There were 182,467 housing units at an average density of 319 per square mile (123/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.65% White, 4.18% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 4.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 89.7% spoke only English at home; 4.4% spoke Spanish, 1.3% German, and 1.0% French at home.

    Census Estimates for 2005 show the county population as being 87.5% non-Hispanic whites, 6.3% Latinos, 4.5% African-American and 1.1% Asian.[20]

    In 2000, there were 149,957 households, out of which 18.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.00% were non-families. 30.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.61.

    In the county, the age distribution was as follows: 16.20% under the age of 18, 5.00% from 18 to 24, 21.70% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 31.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 90.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.30 males.

    The median income for a household in the county was $41,957, and the median income for a family was $50,111. About 5.10% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 4.50% of those age 65 or over.

    The per capita income for the county was $28,326. Females had a median income of $25,721 versus $32,114 for males.

    • Population in Sarasota County counted in 2016 had reached 412,569 people.[21]

    Economy

    Top private employers

    As of January 2018, the top private employers for Sarasota County are as follows:[22]

    1. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (4,563)
    2. PGT Innovations (2,000)
    3. Publix (1,733)
    4. Venice Regional Medical Center (812)
    5. Sun Hydraulics (632)
    6. Tervis Tumbler (570)
    7. Shared Services Center Sarasota (455)
    8. FCCI Insurance (426)
    9. Doctors Hospital (415)
    10. Jackson Hewitt, Inc. (337)

    Top public and private employers

    As of October 2018, the top employees for Sarasota County, including public sector jobs, are as follows:[23]

    1. School Board of Sarasota County (4,563)
    2. Sarasota Memorial Hospital (4,244)
    3. Sarasota County Government (3,533)
    4. Publix Supermarkets (2,793)
    5. PGT Industries (2,079)

    Sports and recreation

    Sarasota County is home to Ed Smith Stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles currently have spring training. The Orioles also have minor league facilities at Twin Lakes Park. In January 2017, the Braves announced a formal agreement to move their Spring Training home to North Port.[24] CoolToday Park opened on March 24, 2019.[25][26]

    Education

    Primary and secondary education

    Higher education

    Museums and libraries

    Library branches:[27]

    • Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library
    • Elsie Quirk Public Library
    • Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library
    • Fruitville Public Library
    • Gulf Gate Public Library
    • North Port Public Library
    • The Osprey Public Library at the Historic Spanish Point
    • Selby Public Library
    • Shannon Staub Library
    • William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library

    Sarasota County residents may obtain library cards for free and valid library cards may be used to check out materials at all ten Sarasota County libraries. Manatee and Charlotte County residents, as well as library users from any of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium libraries may register as reciprocal borrowers and check out materials in Sarasota County. Non-resident cards are available for purchase and offer the same privileges as resident cards.

    The library system provides a variety of services which include adult, teen and children's materials. Computers for public use are available at all nine Sarasota County Libraries and free wireless access in the libraries is provided by the Sarasota County Government. The library system has licensing to the Cloud Library, OverDrive, Inc. and Freegal Music. Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference system is available through the Sarasota County Public Library System. Sarasota County residents have access to the Pinellas Talking Book Library as well as a Books-by-Mail service.[28] The Selby Public Library has been a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program and receives almost 50% of the government publications distributed through the program.[28] Additionally, the Sarasota County Library System is an organization member of the Florida Library Association.

    The Little Free Library program was introduced to Sarasota County in 2014 as the result of a collaborative effort between the Libraries and Historical Resources department, the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources department and the UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension and Sustainability department. The Sarasota County Little Free Libraries have been placed at thirteen different county parks and recreation centers.[29]

    Library History

    The first library, which was established in 1907 by the Sarasota Town Improvement Society. County libraries have been established in response to community demands and needs.

    The first libraries were autonomous with the Head Librarians reporting directly to the County Administrator. Sarasota Public Library was managed by Betty Service, the Englewood library by Harriet Ives, and Venice by Jean McGuire. Joan Hopkins directed and coordinated library services for the rapidly growing population. She directed the establishment of Gulf Gate Public Library, North Port Public Library, Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library and the new downtown Sarasota library, and laid the groundwork for building future libraries in the county.[30]

    Local media

    Newspapers

    Television

    Sarasota County is home to Ed Smith Stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles currently have spring training. The Orioles also have minor league facilities at Twin Lakes Park. In January 2017, the Braves announced a formal agreement to move their Spring Training home to North Port.[24] CoolToday Park opened on March 24, 2019.[25][26

    Sarasota County is home to Ed Smith Stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles currently have spring training. The Orioles also have minor league facilities at Twin Lakes Park. In January 2017, the Braves announced a formal agreement to move their Spring Training home to North Port.[24] CoolToday Park opened on March 24, 2019.[25][26]

    Education

    Primary and secondary education

    • [27]

      • Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library
      • Elsie Quirk Public Library
      • Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library
      • Fruitville Public Library
      • Gulf Gate Public Library
      • North Port Public Library
      • The Osprey Public Library at the Historic Spanish Point
      • Selby Public Library
      • Shannon Staub Library
      • William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library

      Sarasota County residents may obtain library cards for free and valid library cards may be used to check out materials at all ten Sarasota County libraries. Manatee and Charlotte County residents, as well as library users from any of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium libraries may register as reciprocal borrowers and check out materials in Sarasota County. Non-resident cards are available for purchase and offer the same privileges as resident cards.

      The library system provides a variety of services which include adult, teen and children's materials. Computers for public use are available at all nine Sarasota County Libraries and free wireless access in the libraries is provided by the Sarasota County Government. The library system has licensing to the Cloud Library, OverDrive, Inc. and Freegal Music. Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference system is available through the Sarasota County Public Library System. Sarasota County residents have access to the Pinellas Talking Book Library as well as a Books-by-Mail service.[28] The Selby Public Library has been a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program and receives almost 50% of the government publications distributed through the program.[28] Additionally, the Sarasota County Library System is an organization member of the Florida Library Association.

      The Tampa Bay Library Consortium libraries may register as reciprocal borrowers and check out materials in Sarasota County. Non-resident cards are available for purchase and offer the same privileges as resident cards.

      The library system provides a variety of services which include adult, teen and children's materials. Computers for public use are available at all nine Sarasota County Libraries and free wireless access in the libraries is provided by the Sarasota County Government. The library system has licensing to the Cloud Library, OverDrive, Inc. and Freegal Music. Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference system is available through the Sarasota County Public Library System. Sarasota County residents have access to the Pinellas Talking Book Library as well as a Books-by-Mail service.[28] The Selby Public Library has been a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program and receives almost 50% of the government publications distributed through the program.[28] Additionally, the Sarasota County Library System is an organization member of the Florida Library Association.

      The Little Free Library program was introduced to Sarasota County in 2014 as the result of a collaborative effort between the Libraries and Historical Resources department, the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources department and the UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension and Sustainability department. The Sarasota County Little Free Libraries have been placed at thirteen different county parks and recreation centers.[29]

      Library History

      The first library, which was established in 1907 by the Sarasota Town Improvement Society. County libraries have been established in response to community demands and needs.

      The first libraries were autonomous with the Head Librarians reporting directly to the County Administrator. Sarasota Public Library was managed by Betty Service, the Englewood library by Harriet Ives, and Venice by Jean McGuire. Joan Hopkins directed and coordinated library services for the rapidly growing population. She directed the establishment of Gulf Gate Public Library, North Port Public Library, Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library and the new downtown Sarasota library, and laid the groundwork for building future libraries in the county.[30]

      Sarasota County is part of the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota DMA. Most of the television stations are located in Saint Petersburg or Tampa except:

      • WWSB - a local ABC affiliate based in Sarasota.
      • WSNN-LD - local twenty-four-hour news station based in Sarasota.
      • Various government and local access channels. Access 19 (Local Government channel), Education Channel (School Board) and BLAB TV (local programming).

      Radio

      Communities

      Cities

      Town

      Census-designated places/Unincorporated Communities