Question: Hi Vinnie, I would like to know about all those trees that have been planted along 41. Who put them there, and who paid for them? –Patricia M.
Answer: Most of those spanking-new shrubs and trees, from State Road 681 right up to the top of Venice, are part of a bigger project that makes the makeovers on shows like “Extreme Makeover” look like a glorified wart removal. The Nokomis revitalization project got started all the way back in 2001, when a couple of local guys who apparently never heard that saying about the slow wheels of government—John Ask and Bruce Dillon—decided to do something about the not-so-distinguished aging of their little sweetie, also known as Nokomis. So, they formed a committee, got some other folks on board, and spent the next 10 years working with the state, the feds and the County Commission to make everyone play nice in the sandbox. They must have really twisted some arms, because in the end they got the girl they wanted, and she’s a real looker. They also grabbed some grant money (kinda like Monopoly money) to pay for a good chunk of the road work and all of the landscaping that you’re seeing now.