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#1 (04/02/18)

Reimagining the Sarasota Bayfront

Reimagining the Sarasota Bayfront

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) is working to fulfill the community’s vision for a blue and green oasis - a connected and culturally vibrant waterfront - created for and open to everyone as a lively new gathering space.  After 5 years of public input from Sarasota residents, The Bay is now on its way to becoming an exciting destination where local residents can meet up.

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Reimagining the Sarasota Bayfront

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) is working to fulfill the community’s vision for a blue and green oasis - a connected and culturally vibrant waterfront - created for and open to everyone as a lively new gathering space.  After 5 years of public input from Sarasota residents, The Bay is now on its way to becoming an exciting destination where local residents can meet up.

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We’re working on a plan – right now!

SBPO is leading the creation of a comprehensive, long-term master plan for our one-of-a-kind Bayfront that delivers on your expectations with a plan that is financially feasible, operationally do-able, and environmentally sustainable. A plan that delivers on your expectations and the adopted Community Vision and Guiding Principles below

Over 3,000 community residents have weighed in so far with their ideas about what should happen at The Bay. 

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What’s Next?

Join us in April as Sasaki shares three design options for The Bay’s future! These options build on community feedback in February and the desired future activities along The Bay. Though each design will be different, all three will combine nature and environment, arts and culture, and recreation and boating opportunities into one spectacular place that is welcoming to all. 

April Public Open House Times with Sasaki Design Team:

Robert L Taylor Community Complex - 1845 John Rivers St (Formerly 1845 34th St)   

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018
  • 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Van Wezel Grand Foyer - 777 North Tamiami Trail

  • Wednesday, April 18, 2018
  • 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM or 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Herald Tribune Community Forum Sarasota Orchestra Hall

  • Wednesday, April 18, 2018
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

It’s Not About Voting for a Winner…

The purpose of the upcoming meetings is to share the three options and gather your input about which aspects of each appeal to you as well as feedback about what is missing.  It’s not about voting for a winner; we will take all your feedback and use it to create a desired master plan for the site.  The draft plan will be shared at the next community meetings in late May and will incorporate ideas from the different options.

Tell Us What You Want!

Like the February meetings, we will also launch an online survey with identical questions you’ll see at the open houses.  The survey will close on April 27, 2018.

We hope to see you in April!  Please help spread the word to your friends and neighbors, too.

How You Can Be a Part of It

  • Learn more about The Bay opportunity:  www.thebaysarasota.org
  • Share your ideas: Attend our April open houses and tell us what you think
  • Attend SBPO Board Meetings (1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month)
  • Participate in community get-togethers and meetings
  • Help us schedule speakers for events and meetings to share news
  • Join in the dialogue via www.TheBaySarasota.org and on social media
  • Volunteer as we partner with other organizations on Bayfront events
  • Any combination of the above!

Contact Us with any additional ideas or if you have any questions: [email protected].

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#2 (12/01/17)

Design and Planning Firm Selected

Boston-based Sasaki has been selected by the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization to proceed with a master plan of the property known as The Bay.

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Out of 22 firms who submitted responses showing interest in the project, Sasaki proved to be the best fit for our community and the reimagining of the 42-acre site after an intensive interview process with community leaders and stakeholders in early October.

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This marks a major milestone towards presenting a vibrant and sustainable master plan for the City of Sarasota and our community that is fiscally feasible, operationally viable, and environmentally sustainable for the 42-acre Municipal Bayfront site.

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Next step:  Hire a Managing Director who will lead the process of Master Plan development to a successful and accepted conclusion in late 2018!  The possibilities are endless!

#3 (11/20/17)

Meet the Managing Director of the Project

The Board of Directors of Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization announced William Waddill as Managing Director to lead the Master Plan development to reimagine the 42-acre city-owned Bayfront.


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Bill joins the team with over 30 years of experience in transforming public spaces like:

Bradenton Riverwalk

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Perry Harvey Park in Tampa

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Baker Park in Naples

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He comes to us from local planning and design engineering consultants, Kimley-Horn. Bill knows our community.

“When I decided earlier this year to retire from Kimley-Horn, I knew I wanted to find an opportunity that would allow me to use my experience in a way that could make a difference in our community; maybe even create a legacy for the future. I can’t imagine a better opportunity than The Bay. The SBPO selected a stellar design team in Sasaki, for whom I have a great deal of respect. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to help our community to imagine the possibilities of this waterfront project.”

 Beginning on January 3, 2018, we are looking forward to his oversight while reimagining The Bay!

#4 (11/20/17)

A Fundraising Goal is Achieved!

SBPO reached their $2.1 million fundraising goal to ensure the delivery of a professionally prepared master plan for the sustainable development of our Sarasota Bayfront!


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“In addition to being proud to have worked with two amazing people who volunteered their time to make this goal a reality, we are extremely thankful for all those who said yes to investing in the future of our Bayfront,” said Drayton Saunders, President of Michael Saunders & Company. “The 42- acres carries with it the aspirations of a community and the tremendous potential to continue to define the best of what a community can achieve when it collaborates.” 

“We are very grateful to all of our investors for supporting the future of our Bayfront,” said Veronica Brady, Senior Vice President for Philanthropy at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “This project has tremendous potential and the success of this campaign will allow us to more effectively attract future investment opportunities for what’s to come along our bay.” 

Aside from nearly 60 donors who have invested in the planning initiative, several foundations provided financial support including The Patterson Foundation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. 

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“Each member of our community has the opportunity to help our Bayfront evolve into a resource that will be accessible and enjoyable for generations to come,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, which provided $300,000 in catalytic funding to support SBPO’s work. “SBPO’s commitment to engaging the very best master-planning team and working deliberately with stakeholders from multiple sectors to inform the project’s path going forward will surely result in a positive return on everyone’s investment.” 

The funds will be used to hire the leadership team along with planning and design firm, Sasaki, to create a financially feasible, operationally viable, and environmentally sustainable master plan for the City Commission to review and approve in the Fall of 2018.