Letter to the Editor: Simplifying the Process for a Transformative Fleet | Business Observer

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Our community and region are keen to see the approved management plan for Bay Park fully completed. While the emerging features of Phase 1 delightfully surprise the community with their character and design, the features of the future phase will fulfill the full range of aspirations of The Bay Park. Future features such as the Canal District, with its waterfront restaurants and a bay-side amphitheater, are right at your fingertips. But some fear that at the current rate, completion is simply taking too long. How can this comprehensive vision of a free and welcoming park for all be achieved sooner rather than later?

The Bay Park Conservancy and the City of Sarasota Management are jointly presenting a revised partnership agreement for municipal commission approval on November 15. After nearly three years of a successful partnership, Bay Park staff and city management come up with an agreement that streamlines all activities related to Bay Park. One-Time Agreements, which streamlines City approvals and, in so doing, expedites delivery of the entire fleet up to five years earlier. The resulting capital and operating savings for the Bay Park Conservancy alone are estimated to be between $ 20 million and $ 30 million.

While the specific roles of our individual organizations in our community are unique, we are all united in cultivating and enhancing our natural and cultural quality of life and environment. The Bay Park accomplishes this and more. As an example, part of the 1.5 mile waterfront has already been restored and reclaimed, and the water quality of stormwater discharges from this site and off site has already been significantly improved thanks to multiple new processing features. The habitat of the destroyed and disturbed tidal cove and mangrove forest has been restored, and already, new sea creatures are beginning to return.

Public parks improve the overall health and well-being of a city. Vibrant parks foster community and expand connections. Parks like The Bay increase property values, sales and tourist tax revenues, and provide business opportunities in and around the park. A nearby downtown resident, along with a family working in an adjacent neighborhood, has a free and welcoming green space to learn, play, celebrate, and immerse themselves in the best of our local natural environment. The Bay Park indeed improves the best of the unique quality of life of our region.

We are united in ensuring that the approved master plan is implemented sooner and more cost effectively through a refined long-term partnership process, and urge the Municipal Commission to support its approval.

Heather Kasten, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Krouse, Sarasota County EDC
Christine Robinson, Argus Foundation


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