It was eight-plus years ago when a group of citizens began exploring what might be possible for the 53 acres on Sarasota’s bayfront. More than 200 community meetings were held, with private funds raised to facilitate the creation of guiding principles, which have been steadfastly embraced.
In 2015, The Patterson Foundation provided a facilitator to assist a small group of leaders in creating a governing structure and establishing a budget to begin master planning. The Patterson Foundation stepped forward with $300,000 — catalyzing the successful fundraising of $2 million. This allowed the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization to operate and engage world-class planners to connect with the community to formulate a master site plan.
Once it was determined that Phase 1, the 10 acres along the Boulevard of the Arts between U.S. Highway 41 and the bay, would be developed to demonstrate how this park would not only be a place for everyone — but also exemplify environmental stewardship — it was decided that the preliminary $20 million would be raised from private sources. The Patterson Foundation again stepped up with an immediate donation of $2 million with the opportunity for three additional $1 million contributions each time the public donates $5 million.
As of this writing, the Bay Park Conservancy (formerly the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization) is honing in on triggering the final $1 million from The Patterson Foundation. What a tribute to our community that people and private organizations accomplished this in less than two years.
At every milestone, the Sarasota City Commission has approved the principles and plans put forth by Bayfront 2020.
On Monday, March 8, the community had the opportunity to advance the vision that is now the master plan, and the city commission did just that by approving the Phase 1 site plan. The partnership between the Bay Park Conservancy and the City of Sarasota will continue to prove to be an exemplar with your support.
What a model for private-public partnering!
The Patterson Foundation recently took a field trip to Phase 1. Watch our video to see the latest innovations underway at The Bay that will be enjoyable by people of all ages.