Local community leaders want to make Newtown a destination

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Local community leaders want to make Newtown a destination

When exploring Sarasota, there are a few iconic spots that come to mind, like Siesta Key, St. Armands and the long stretch of island that is Longboat.

But there’s one place that’s missing, according to a contingent of community leaders from the city’s historically black neighborhood. They want to add Newtown to that list.

“We can compete with anybody,” said Lou Murray, vice president of the grassroots organization Newtown Nation and head of the area’s farmers market. “We have out-of-sight music and the food is unbelievable and nobody can touch us. This is what we do.”

In the last year, the neighborhood has seen an increase in community outreach and programming intended to both serve residents and to attract people from around the city. Newtown now has a farmers market selling fresh produce the first and third Friday and Saturday of every month, and that same market has hosted popular gatherings like the Big Mama’s Collard Greens Fest in October and the recent Reggae Bash.

These initiatives were spawned in large part thanks to Newtown Nation, which was formed in November 2014 by local residents hoping to improve Newtown

By Elizabeth Djinis

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