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Former Vice Mayor Ken Shelin believes a private nonprofit organization may be able to revitalize Selby Five Points Park.
Sarasota Monday, Nov. 1, 2010 4 years ago

Commission considers Five Points Park options

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

The next step toward the possible privatization of Selby Five Points Park occurs this evening at City Hall.

City commissioners will hear five options the city attorney has devised on how the park can be managed and operated in the future.

Former Vice Mayor Ken Shelin proposed in September that a private, nonprofit group or corporation could take over park operations. The city would still own Selby Five Points Park, but the nonprofit would fund and run it.

Shelin got the idea after studying New York’s Bryant Park. In the 1970s, it was referred to as “Needle Park,” because of rampant drug dealing and prostitution.

In the 1980s, a group of prominent citizens formed a nonprofit organization and took over the park, which today thrives as an attraction for families and tourists.

Because the city’s budget is so tight, Shelin believes a private organization would have better resources to fund the park operations.

City Attorney Bob Fournier’s five options include:

• City continues to operate the park with taxpayer money.
• City operates the park with taxpayer money, but contracting with a company for a concession stand.
• City contracts with a nonprofit to run park, but taxpayers still fund park.
• Nonprofit operates, manages and funds park, but city still owns it.
• Nonprofit operates, manages, funds and owns park.

Commissioners are not required to choose one of the options at today’s meeting.

Robin Roy can be reached at rroy@yourobserver.com.
 

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