As it works toward its goal of developing a master plan for nearly 75 acres of bayfront land, Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 is looking for even broader community input before moving forward.
As a result, the group is holding two public workshops before the end of the month to allow citizens to offer their suggestions regarding the future development of 42 acres of city-owned land surrounding the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
The group, whose work has been endorsed by the City Commission, seeks to create a project that establishes a cultural and economic legacy for the city while also ensuring public access to the bayfront. In addition to the city land, it is considering how adjoining private property, such as the former Quay site, could fit into a grander vision for the area. It plans to present the insight it gathers at a future commission meeting.
Michael Klauber, chairman of the Visit Sarasota County board of directors and leader of the Bayfront 20:20 group, said the development of the bayfront land was an important opportunity that demanded substantial community participation.
“Never again in our lifetime will we have such an opportunity to create a lasting legacy and pathway for the successful future of our vibrant community,” Klauber said in a release.
The workshops will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27 and 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Blvd. of the Arts.
The group has also recently launched a website, and is encouraging the public to use social media to participate in the conversation with the hashtag #CanYouSeeIt.
An alliance of local organizations have offered their support for the work of Sarasota Bayfront 20:20. Groups that have adopted the Bayfront 20:20 vision include:
+ Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County
+ Coalition of City Neighborhoods Association
+ Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County
+ Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
+ Gulf Coast Community Foundation
+ Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
+ North Trail Redevelopment Partnership
+ Players Theatre
+ Rosemary Association
+ Sarasota Garden Club
+ Sarasota Opera
+ Sarasota Orchestra
+ Tahiti Park Neighborhood Association
+ Van Wezel Foundation
+ Visit Sarasota County
Klauber said that, in addition to the importance the bayfront land has to the region as a whole, it could play a crucial role in the future growth of several local groups — such as Mote, which has expressed its desire to secure a portion of the city-owned land.
“There are so many organizations looking toward the future with a vested interest in how this initiative progresses that there is tremendous opportunity to work together and hear the voice of the community,” Klauber said
Monica Slater Van Buskirk, president and CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation, said the Van Wezel was one of those organizations with a particularly vested interest in the future of the bayfront land. Although the group has avoided specifics about what will go where when the bayfront is developed, Van Buskirk said the Van Wezel’s plans for growth gave them reason to work closely with the other Bayfront 20:20 groups.
“While none of us know the outcome this process will produce, we know we want to be part of it in a positive, forward-thinking way,” Van Buskirk said.
IF YOU GO
What: Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 public forum
When: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27; 9 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28
Where: Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].