After the Bay Park Conservancy secured Sarasota City Commission approval for the updated master plan for The Bay park on Monday, City Manager Marlon Brown announced it would be the last appearance before the commission by the BPC's Chief Operating Officer Bill Waddill.
Among the founding members of the BPC and a guiding force in the development of the 53-acre city-owned park, Waddill will leave his post at the end of November and return to his career as a development consultant.
With Phase 1 of The Bay open for just more than a year, Phase 2 development underway and Phase 3 — which largely covers Centennial Park at the 10th Street boat ramp — effectively approved, Waddill told the Observer the time is right to execute his original plan to return to the private sector once park development reaches cruise control.
“I said I'll put it on hold and give it six or eight years. I am literally finishing my sixth year, and it just it seemed like the timing was right to transition,” Waddill said. “Phase 1 is up and Phase 2 is moving ahead and fully funded, and so I really feel like it's a perfect time. I'm still figuring out what I'm going to do and where I'm going to land, but I’m really proud of the work over six years and what we were able to accomplish.
“And I live across the street, so I'm not going anywhere.”
Waddill will in fact have a bird's-eye view of continuing development of The Bay when he moves into his new home in Bayso at The Quay in a couple of months.
A veteran park planner and former senior vice president of development consultant Kimley-Horn, Waddill was named managing director of the organization that would become the BPC in November 2017. In the years since, his role evolved to the title of COO, although he was often referred to as “chief implementation officer.”
With the sudden departure of Stephanie Crockatt, who was the first salaried top executive of the organization, founding CEO AG Lafley has resumed that role. His return leaves the leadership of the BPC in experienced hands.
“I had been talking about maybe going part-time over the last year or so,” Waddill said. “It's just a good time for me to move on and I know the team is going to be successful. They know what to do."