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Bird Key Park is one of 18 neighborhood parks the city would be responsible for funding completely.
Sarasota Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2011 6 years ago

City bristles at county's parks offer

by: Robin Roy City Editor

At the same time the City Commission approved a two-month extension of its tenuous parks agreement with the county, it bristled at the terms the county was offering.

Commissioners approved extending the parks interlocal agreement until May 31, although city administrators wanted to push it until July, because the new commissioners won’t have their first meeting until May 16.

Those terms have the county funding regional parks within the city limits and the city funding its neighborhood parks.

Mayor Kelly Kirschner questioned the rationale of the county deeming some parks, such as Arlington Park, a regional facility but not considering the new Robert L. Taylor Center, a regional facility.

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.

The city is upgrading Robert L. Taylor, which will increase its operating costs from about $400,000 to about $1.2 million.

County officials say because their budget woes, they cannot afford to fund it.

Kirschner and Commissioner Suzanne Atwell questioned why county commissioners did not want to meet directly with the City Commission to negotiate a new parks agreement.

“I find it unfortunate … we could not meet face-to-face with the county,” Atwell said.

Commissioner Terry Turner disagreed and said such a meeting, with 10 commissioners, would be unproductive.

“The county has made a compromise that is fair,” Turner said.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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