Tony is the former director of New Bedford (MA) Office of Housing and Neighborhoods. Following is his Herald Tribune letter to the editor.

Two years ago, Tony Souza, President and CEO of the Downtown Partnership, proposed to his Board of Directors the exploration of establishing a historic district along Sarasota’s Main Street.
Last year, a Downtown Partnership Historic District Committee was created and on Monday, May 21 2007, the Sarasota City Commission unanimously approved the formation of a downtown historic district.
The proposed historic district, which will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, begins at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue and runs to lower Main Street at Gulfstream Boulevard. It includes Palm Avenue from Lower Main Street to McAnsh Street, as well as the area around Five Points Park including the Sarasota Opera, The Golden Apple Dinner Theater, the former DJ’s Restaurant and the park, itself.
The Commission also approved an expenditure of $15,000 in TIF funds to hire a historic preservation consultant to prepare the National Register Application to the National Park Service.
Once final approval is received, historic buildings within the boundaries of the district can qualify for a 20% Historic Preservation Tax Credit from the IRS for qualified historic rehabilitation of their buildings.
In the coming months, The Downtown Partnership will be sponsoring a series of seminars related to the tax benefits that will be allowed in the new district. Contact Tony Souza at the Downtown Partnership to learn more.