The city may have found a path toward reaching its goal of seeing more activity at Payne Park, as a local organization is seeking to rent sections of the park for youth sports activities.
The Suncoast Sports Club is requesting the commission’s approval to rent open land in Payne Park for youth sports. The organization, founded in 1998, offers a variety of youth sports for children between the ages of 3 and 13 at Glebe Park on Siesta Key.
If the commission approved the request, the group would rent out sections of the park each Saturday. A letter from Suncoast Sports Club Vice President Stephen Weeks says activities offered would include soccer, flag football, disc golf, track and field and exercise programs. Sections of the park would remain open to the public on days during which Suncoast Sports Club activities were being held.
Weeks said the group is interested in bringing sports programs to children in neighborhoods around downtown Sarasota. He said the city would benefit from an income-producing project in an underutilized area, and that people would be drawn downtown for children’s sports events and festivals.
In November, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Board unanimously recommended the commission agree to a three-year rental contract with Suncoast Sports Club with two one-year extensions.
Also on the agenda for Monday’s commission meeting:
• Chief Planner Steve Stancel will provide a status report on the State Street parking garage. The current design plans call for a six-floor garage with approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level and 399 parking spaces. A private developer would construct a five-to-six story pad site of approximately 5,040 square feet next to the garage on Lemon Avenue.
• Commissioners will discuss the process for reviewing charter officials, including City Manager Tom Barwin. Barwin's contract stipulates that a third-party mediator must help conduct his review.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].