Skip to Main Content

Our goal as a community is to create a long-term master plan for the Sarasota Bayfront area that will establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the Bayfront. Increasing Sarasota's visibility as a cultural capital, The Bay will exist for broad-based enjoyment of our Bayfront for all generations. 

Our Timeline

Born from a group of community stakeholders, the journey to The Bay is continuing to evolve. 

1902
1925
1969
2007
2013
2015
2016
2017

1902

The town of Sarasota was incorporated. The bayfront served as a place of recreation for local Sarasotans, offering gulf access to the public. 

1925

John Nolen, a professional planner, was hired to develop a plan for the downtown of the city. He laid out the streets to follow the arch of the bay front with a grid beyond, that extended north to what is now Tenth Street and south to Mound. 

1969

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall opens. Jointly funded by a bequest from local residents Lewis and Eugenia van Wezel and monies from a city of Sarasota bond referendum, the 1,736 seat hall was designed by William Wesley Peters, a chief architect at Taliesin Associated Architects and Frank Lloyd Wright's son-in-law. The purple and lavender color scheme was suggested by Frank Lloyd Wright's widow, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright. 

2007

The Cooper Robertson Cultural Park master plan is developed. The plan focused on creating a mixed-use district with an emphasis on cultural uses. Two sites were identified for major cultural institutions, one facing Tamiami Trail, the other facing the new bayfront park. 

2013

Bayfront 20:20 is formed. The goal was to create consensus among community and neighborhood leaders about what the future could be for the bayfront. A vision statement was created to allow for broad community support and input: “We support the creation of a long-term master plan for the Sarasota bayfront area that will establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the bayfront.”

2015

Through the outreach of Bayfront 20:20, community groups begin to sign on board for a unified common vision statement. A crucial accomplishment is the development of Implementation Guiding Principles in support of the vision. The Sarasota City Commission adopts the Guiding Principles to guide bayfront redevelopment efforts.

2016

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization is formed as a non-profit 501 (c)(3). Comprised of a nine-member citizen volunteer board, this group is tasked with searching for a master planning firm and presenting a vibrant and sustainable master plan for the City of Sarasota and its community that is fiscally feasible, operationally viable, and environmentally sustainable for the 42-acre Municipal Bayfront site.

2017

After an exhaustive global search, Sasaki is chosen to proceed with a master plan of The Bay. The selection occurred after an open and intensive interview process that involved 4 design and planning firm finalists shortlisted from among 22 firms who provided submissions in response to the Request for Qualification.

Now the work begins. And we invite you to keep checking back as we imagine the possibilities of The Bay.

SBPO Board



Lafley

A.G. Lafley

A.G. Lafley is former CEO and Chairman of Procter & Gamble. In his first term as CEO, P&G sa...

Read More
Cynthia Mc Cague

Cynthia P. McCague

Cynthia P. McCague is a Director for Pier 1 Imports and former senior executive with Coca-Cola. She ...

Read More
Lane

Robert "Rob" J. Lane

Robert "Rob" J. Lane is a CPA and Managing Shareholder of Kerkering Barberio. His practice areas inc...

Read More
Dubose

Keith Dubose

Keith Dubose is an attorney and shareholder with the Matthews Eastmoore law firm. Keith is involved ...

Read More
Carlson

Allen "Al" Carlson

Allen "Al" Carlson is retired President and CEO of Sun Hydraulics (16 years) and is Regional Directo...

Read More
Tom Barwin

Thomas "Tom" Barwin

Thomas "Tom" Barwin is City Manager for the City of Sarasota. Prior to Sarasota, Tom served six year...

Read More
Compton

Jennifer Compton

Jennifer Compton is Attorney and Partner for the Sarasota office of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, L...

Read More
Layton

Cathy Layton

Cathy Layton is a retired commercial real estate broker who has lived in Sarasota since 1970. She wa...

Read More
Klauber

Michael Klauber

Michael Klauber is President and Founder of Michael’s on East (30 years). As a 47-year resident of S...

Read More

Stakeholders