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What sparked the Bayfront conversation within the community?

In 2013 the Sarasota region faced a unique confluence of timing and opportunity. The City of Sarasota was beginning to reexamine the 2007 Cultural District Master Plan that encompasses the 42-acres from Boulevard of the Arts to Payne Terminal surrounding the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Discussions about parceling the land began. This spurred community and civic leaders to take action and start dialogue about creating a common vision for the future of the Bayfront.

Who is Bayfront 20:20?

Bayfront 20:20 was formed in 2014 as a long-term initiative to create a world-renowned destination along Sarasota’s Bayfront. Their effort has been to enhance and protect the region’s greatest asset – the beautiful, natural Bayfront environment. Bayfront 20:20 is a public/private, community-based initiative whose purpose is to promote and benefit all of Sarasota County’s diverse communities, creating a legacy along the Bayfront in the heart of Sarasota that promotes a sustainable region for the next 50-100 years.

Who is SBPO?

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Inc. was formed as a nine-person board comprised of trusted and experienced citizen volunteers with a diverse set of competencies. The board was developed to establish a vibrant and sustainable master plan for the City of Sarasota-owned 42-acre site and to propose an ongoing improvement plan for the site. The SBPO is organized as a 501(c)(3) organization and operates in accordance with Florida’s Open Meeting & Open Records laws.

Who is HR&A?

HR&A Advisors is an industry-leading consulting firm providing services in economic development, real estate and public policy. The firm has guided hundreds of clients in transforming infrastructure, economic development and real estate concepts into actionable plans that guide the creation of community-strengthening assets.

What is a Master Plan?

A master plan, also called a comprehensive plan, provides a long-range vision for the environment of a community. It guides the appropriate use of lands within a municipality in order to protect the public health and safety and to promote general welfare.

What is the purpose of the proposed Master Plan?

The master plan will set forth a detailed strategy to realize the sustainable redevelopment of the Bayfront in accordance with the vision and implementation principles established by the community and ratified by the City Commission in 2015.

Who oversees this project?

The city owns the 42-acre underlying land where the project is based. Currently, the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Inc. (SBPO) has been created to oversee the RFQ process. Once a comprehensive master plan has been developed, with governance and financial plans in place, the project will transition to a group to specifically manage the project through construction and operation.

Who is Sasaki?

The planning and development firm chosen to shape the comprehensive and phased master plan for the Bayfront, Sasaki brings together the best of landscape architecture, planning, urban design, architecture, interior design, civil engineering, graphic design, place branding, and data science to shape the places in which we live. 

What is the difference between Bayfront 20:20 and SBPO?

Since 2013, Bayfront 20:20 has spearheaded a broad community discussion regarding the future of the Bayfront, organizing 220 meetings ranging from six major community forums to informal discussions throughout the community. Bayfront 20:20 and its 55 member organizations continue to play an active role in building support for Bayfront redevelopment.

In October 2016, the City endorsed the establishment of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) for the specific purpose of guiding the creation of a professional, comprehensive master plan that reflects the desires of the Sarasota community for a family friendly green space that also provides an exceptional home to Sarasota’s arts and cultural organizations.

The SBPO builds on the foundation work completed by Bayfront 20:20 in establishing the vision and guiding principles desired by the Sarasota community for the development of the Bayfront site. Once the Bayfront master plan has been completed and approved by the City, the SBPO’s mandate will be complete and the organization will sunset.

How do I join the board of SBPO?

At this time, the board has been selected and will serve through 2018.

How do I join the board of Bayfront 20:20?

Bayfront 20:20 is not a designated non-profit. As such, there is no board of directors, only a governance committee.

What can I do as a member of the Sarasota community?

We encourage Sarasota’s citizens to become active and informed in the discussion about the future of the Sarasota Bayfront - like us on Facebook, subscribe to our newsletter, get engaged, donate to the project. Check out the “Get Involved” section of the website to see how you can participate in the discussion.

What can I do as a local community organization?

We encourage Sarasota’s community organizations to partner with the SBPO and Bayfront 20:20 to promote awareness of the project in the community and build support for the Bayfront redevelopment.

What is the purpose of the development?

The purpose is to create a destination site that not only is attractive and inviting to the county but serves as a legacy along the Bayfront by enhancing and protecting the 42-acres and creating a world-renowned, integrated destination. The space will provide the community with cultural and educational heritage, outdoor programming, connectivity and sustainability.

Why is the project happening now?

Three years of productive conversations with Sarasota’s diverse citizens have led to unprecedented consensus regarding the future of the Bayfront, as articulated in the six implementation principles established by the community and ratified by the City Commision. Transitions in the status of adjacent parcels, combined with a stronger economy, also make this a particularly opportune moment to work toward a coherent and transformative vision for the broader Bayfront.

How can I get involved as a contractor?

The needs of the project and, subsequently, the need for local contractors have yet to be defined. As the master plan takes shape, clearly defined needs will be requested through news organizations and local media.

How long will the project take?

It will be developed in phases over a period of years. A finalized time-line is not determined at this time.

What does the process look like?

Once the RFQ process is finalized and a master planner is chosen for the project, the selection of an initial building plan will be decided, at which time contractors will be determined. The project will build out in several phases over a period of years to best meet the ongoing needs of the community.

Am I being taxed for any aspect of this planning project?

No. There are zero costs to taxpayers through this planning phase of the project. Part of the role of the selected master planning firm will be to identify ways that the ultimate project can be funded.

How much is a project of this scale estimated to cost?

The master planning process will produce detailed cost estimates for all recommended site improvements.

When can I expect to enjoy The Bay?

You can enjoy the Bay today through myriad of activities throughout the year.