The Bay Park Conservancy Elects New Executive Committee Officers - The Bay Sarasota
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The Bay Park Conservancy Elects New Executive Committee Officers


The Bay Park Conservancy Elects New Executive Committee Officers

Jennifer Compton will lead the Board as Chair, Cathy Layton was elected as Chair Emeritus, and Emily Walsh was elected as secretary.

The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC), the non-profit organization responsible for designing, developing, managing and operating 53 acres of City-owned land along Sarasota Bay into a signature public park, has elected new Executive Committee Officers.

Jennifer Compton, Managing Partner and Vice Chair of Shumaker, has been elected Chair of the Bay Park (The Bay) Conservancy (BPC) Board of Directors. Jennifer is one of the founding members of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) and subsequently served as Secretary for the BPC. She is recognized for using her legal and leadership acumen to create a first-of-its-kind private/public partnership agreement between The Bay and City of Sarasota. This partnership was instrumental in supporting The Bay Park Conservancy’s initiatives to develop the precious city-owned land along Sarasota Bay into community park.

“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Jennie,” says AG Lafley, Founding CEO of the BPC. “Jennie focuses on what matters most and works constructively with the City and the BPC team to get the most important things done. Jennie is the perfect Chair for this moment… to lead the BPC as we build out the team to operate, maintain and program the park that has just opened, while we continue to develop Phase 2 of the park.”

“It is a privilege to lead an organization that is focused on making the place I call home a better place for all,” Jennifer said. “The BPC is ensuring the Sarasota Bay is a vibrant destination where people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds can explore and appreciate all that The Bay has to offer, and I am proud to be a part of this legacy.”

Cathy Layton, previously BPC Board Chair from December 2016 through December 2022, has been elected Chair Emeritus. During her tenure as Chair, Cathy oversaw what was initially only a vision of what “could be” transformed into the reality of a world-class park – with the October 2022 opening of The Bay Phase 1 to an estimated 50,000 people.

“Serving on a team of effective volunteers who have made such a positive impact on our community has been a true privilege for me. The joy I see expressed every single day at The Bay affirms it is time well spent,” says Cathy Layton.

Emily Walsh, President of the Observer Media Group, has been elected Secretary of the BPC Board. Walsh joined the Board in 2019.

“While we move into this important next phase of The Bay, I’m incredibly excited to be a part of The Bay Park Conservancy and to see the ring completed around this 53-acre project that surely will become Sarasota’s crowning jewel,” Emily Walsh said.

Rob Lane, Managing Shareholder of Kerkering Barberio, continues to serve as Treasurer of the BPC Board.

The Bay transforms 53 acres of the city’s precious bayfront into a world-class destination offering an open and accessible, free and welcoming gathering place for everyone to experience and enjoy.

The BPC is at an important juncture as it balances operating, maintaining and programming the first 14 acres of The Bay park (Phase 1) with excellence, while also designing and building the next 14 acres of park (Phase 2) that continues to delight park guests from around the region.

The completed park will cost about $150-200 million and will take between 7-10 years, over 3 or more phases. Phase 2 development of the park is expected to begin as early as Spring 2023.

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