The town of Sarasota was incorporated. The bayfront served as a place of recreation for local Sarasotans, offering gulf access to the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
On September 6, 2018, the Sarasota City Commission approved the Master Plan developed by the SBPO and Sasaki. The SBPO will take the next steps to evolve into the permanent organization, the Bay Park Conservancy (BPC), that will partner with the City of Sarasota to develop, implement and maintain The Bay Master Plan.
On January 1, 2019, The Bay evolved from a community coalition to a park conservancy, creating the Bay Park Conservancy (BPC), in order to create, co-fund, build, and operate a park for our community and our city.