An Update from Sarasota Bayfront 20:20

Greetings friends and stakeholders!

What a summer it has been for developments, meetings and progress for our initiative. We are pleased and proud that with new stakeholders like the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Gillespie Park Neighborhood Association and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens have joined us, we are now up to 41 community organizations who are embracing our vision.

  • We have a lot to inform you about and want you to save the dates for our next upcoming stakeholder meetings:
    • Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 4 p.m. | location TBD
    • Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 4 p.m. | location TBD

These meetings will provide a recap of everything we have been working on over the summer, and we hope to be able to reveal findings from the City of Sarasota’s staff study. Our team has been meeting with staffers from the City of Sarasota’s Neighborhood and Development Services department this summer, and they have been diligently working to compile a detailed report on a huge range of factors that will influence the next round of discussions regarding what possibilities exist for our Bayfront. Scheduled to be completed in September, the report will touch on everything from stormwater outflows to existing leases.

  • You may have read that on July 8, the Sarasota County Commission voiced unanimous support to investigate the possibility of a downtown Sarasota conference center. While it in no way impacts or crosses paths with our efforts for Bayfront 20:20, we will be watching how this conversation progresses. A stated goal of one of our stakeholders, Visit Sarasota County (VSC) is this:

 If a potential convention center project becomes viable, the VSC will be a partner with other community organizations, such as the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, in investigating the opportunity.
As VSC may assist in this conversation due to their expertise in the meetings industry arena, these are two distinctly different initiatives for Sarasota that both bring interesting and exciting possibilities for our future.

  • During the trip to Kansas City this summer, Bayfront 20:20 members saw firsthand how that community successfully engaged in a public private partnership, which encompassed all of the Kansas City performing arts groups, to build the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. They not only had a successful fundraising effort for their center, but the community also successfully embarked upon a very complex community and bi-state redevelopment effort at Union Station. An effort that was not an initial success but eventually blossomed into an amazing asset for the community while honoring its historical significance.

We will look to continue to gain knowledge and insight from other successful endeavors across America in our research for the Bayfront.

  • The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County together with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce are currently planning a leadership expedition this fall to see the Louisville Waterfront Park, another public private success story built on 85 acres of urban waterfront.

As we continue on this exciting journey, we hope you will continue to join us at a meeting, follow us online or join our conversation through social media. We will only be successful with your continued support and feedback! See you this fall.