The article originally appeared in Tempo News on November 15, 2021
Sarasota has always been my home. Even after college and law school, returning to where my family raised me, to resume my place in this community, was where I wanted to be.
I have spent more than five years on the board of The Bay Park, a city-owned property comprising 53 acres of property that was a part of my life in one way, but not at all in other ways. Other than attending a concert at Van Wezel or days at the Community House Recreation Center, this area held no interest to me as a kid, nor was it welcoming to me and my friends.
My adult years and travels have shown me the benefit of being connected to the natural beauty of God’s creation. My civic work has revealed that people knowing their neighbors and meeting people of different backgrounds and life experiences creates meaningful connections that strengthen the fabric of a community. I have learned that being outside for recreation or just on a scenic walk makes for a timely break from a busy work day or provides a peaceful change of pace from the hectic events of life. These much-needed breaks are just plain good for the soul.
The Bay Park is an ambitious plan to create an open, welcoming, free and inclusive park for all. On November 15, 2021, the City Commission has a chance to update the Long-Term Partnership Agreement it has with the Bay Park Conservancy to make this park happen faster. Getting this project done faster will allow us all to enjoy this revitalized site sooner, while also saving precious resources. This updated plan is simpler, streamlines approvals, speeds up design and construction of the Approved Master Plan, and delivers on the aspirations of all the children and adults who have guided the park’s features and activities.
No longer do I want Sarasota’s kids, like I once was, to feel disconnected from such a remarkable property. The more children and families who can enjoy learning, playing, celebrating, gathering, and connecting with nature, the healthier and stronger we can all be.
I respectfully request that the City Commission approve the amended Long-Term Partnership Agreement between the Bay Park Conservancy and the City of Sarasota.
Keith Dubose, Board Member
The Bay Park Conservancy
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