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Bird Key Park is one of 18 neighborhood parks the city would be responsible for fully funding.
Sarasota Monday, May. 16, 2011 3 years ago

Sarasota commission considers park agreement

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

SARASOTA — The new city commission is expected to vote on a sweeping agreement regarding the funding of all city parks.

The county is withdrawing much of the money it has traditionally contributed to the operations of city parks. It currently pays about $2.9 million per year to operate the city’s parks, but budget constraints are forcing the county to stop most of that funding.

A parks interlocal agreement is set to expire May 31, and city commissioners most likely will decide today whether to accept the latest terms the county has offered.

The city will take over operations and maintenance of its 18 smaller neighborhood parks, but the county will contribute $1 million during the next three years as a transition.

The county was going to maintain control of “regional” parks, which are defined as being used by more than just city residents.

But county officials are not counting Newtown’s Robert L. Taylor Community Center as one of those regional parks, and that has been the main point of contention in the interlocal agreement.

The center is being rebuilt, and its operations costs are jumping from $400,000 to more than $1 million.

The county has agreed to fund the North Sarasota park to the tune of $320,000 per year for five years, and then turning over funding to the city.

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.
 

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