Organizations are continuing to work on a master plan for city-owned bayfront property surrounding the Van Wezel, holding a meeting with a consulting firm this afternoon to discuss public/private partnership possibilities.
Visit Sarasota County will be hosting representatives from development consultant HR&A Advisors today at Ringling College. According to a memo from Michael Klauber, Visit Sarasota County Board of Directors chairman, HR&A will outline the history of other public/private redevelopment projects to which they have contributed. Klauber says the focus will be on how other communities united behind common goals to complete those projects.
Klauber and Visit Sarasota County, with the help of other local groups, have led the charge on the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 visioning process. The organizations hope to create a long-term plan for up to 75 acres of bayfront land around the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, including some private property such as the former Quay site.
The group outlined its plans to the Sarasota City Commission in March, which was receptive to the work that had been done to date. Still, commissioners indicated an interest in a slow-moving process, recommending against the involvement of an outside consultant and declining to get the city involved at this point.
Since that meeting, those involved with Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 have focused on inviting more people to participate in the process. Klauber said the group has had about 25 meetings with community and neighborhood organizations since March, with more scheduled for the future.
Klauber also said that several representatives met with HR&A in New York City in May. He said the group was interested in learning about how other cultural and park redevelopment efforts came together.
“We had a chance to tour some very inspirational park projects and learn the history of the community involvement and leadership that made them a success,” Klauber said.
The meeting with HR&A will be held from 2-5 p.m. on the campus of Ringling College today. The meeting is open to the public.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].