Sunday, May 19, 2019

Action: Preserve Payne Park

Come to the City of Sarasota Commission meeting, City Hall, 1565 First Street, Monday, May 20th 6:00 p.m. (arrive early if you can – you may need to be there by 5:00 to get a seat).  We want to fill city hall with park supporters. The Orchestra’s plan to hijack seven acres of our public park in order to build the largest structure in the City is the only item on the agenda. If you wish to speak, sign a speakers' card at the hall entrance. You are allowed three minutes. Please wear YELLOW!  

The Sarasota Orchestra is petitioning the City to give away seven acres of our community park to develop a 2,500-seat music hall. This amounts to over five football fields of concrete and asphalt covering precious greenspace. Under their plan, a duck pond, now teaming with life, would be paved over to add “convenience parking” for the Orchestra’s employees and big donors. This is simply wrong.

Payne Park, a 40-acre community park centrally-located in downtown Sarasota (on Adams Lane off  US 301), was donated to the city with the stipulation that it always be a public park. The Payne family explicitly forbade any other use of this land when they presented  “the greatest gift Sarasota has ever received” to the citizens. 
The City of Sarasota reopened the former ballpark-site as Payne Park on October 6, 2007, as a public park space partially funded by a funded by a county-wide penny surtax. After a $20 million dollar investment of our tax dollars, the park as it stands today features a tennis center, a skateboard park, Frisbee golf course, tracks for walking and riding bikes, three ponds, a circus playground, a cafe, numerous shade trees, and established wildlife habitat.  
Help us save this park land from development! The Manatee Sierra Club and the Sarasota Audubon Society support our efforts to preserve one of the rare park natural environments that remain in downtown Sarasota. You don’t need a ticket to enjoy Payne Park. It is free!
Once it is gone…. It’s gone!  Please take action today!

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