"The only thing I know about myself is that I'm never wrong."
From his home in The Phoenix Condominiums at tony Golden Gate Point, Gil Waters can contemplate what is arguably his crowning achievement every time he looks to the northwest. It reminds the 85-year-old community activist of the likely resistance in store for the final imprint he wants to leave on Sarasota.
Waters enjoys a panorama of the $68 million fusion of form and function known as the Ringling Causeway bridge, which seems a graceful fit for Sarasota Bay. The 33,000 drivers and countless pedestrians and cyclists who cross the 3,800-foot span to the barrier islands each day likely give its inception little thought.
But nearly 15 years ago, in what a construction manager called “probably one of the worst battles I've seen,” the city of Sarasota was joined by a citizens' group in a $500,000 municipal suit to block its construction.
But their combined muscle could not stop Waters, who spearheaded the campaign to replace a balky old drawbridge with a modern fixed span.
Read more at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.