Orchestra site search continues in Sarasota

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Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin told the Commission last week that he is working daily with the Sarasota Orchestra to help keep the Orchestra in the city in its pursuit for a new concert hall.

Last month, Sarasota City Commission voted 4-1 denying a proposal by the Orchestra to build a new facility at Payne Park on the site of the existing Tennis Center. That plan, spurred opposition from both tennis players who did not want to see the center relocated, to protectors of the park and green space who asserted that developing the site would be a violation of the very deed that gifted the property to the city.

Others cited traffic, safety and ultimately the desicration of the park as the main reason against the Orchestra plan. No one spoke against the Orchestra as an entity, and most opponents stated they hope the Orchestra rebuilds within the City, just not on park land.

At the meeting, all of the commissioners with the exception of Mayor Liz Alpert voted against the Orchestra plan in Payne Park.

After the City rejected its proposal, the Sarasota Orchestra has said it would expand its search beyond the City. Since then, the Sarasota County Fairgrounds has also re-emerged as a possible location.

Another option is the founders of The Bay project have stated that the Orchestra was initially conceived as a part of the overall Bay Plan. There is a possibility that the Orchestra could stay and an accommodation made at its present site. The Orchestra wishes to build recital and orchestral halls as well as education and rehearsal space.

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1 Response for “Orchestra site search continues in Sarasota”

  1. John Schmitz says:

    I was looking at google maps of downtown Sarasota and this is a possible suggestion for a new Sarasota Orchestra location that would keep the Orchestra in the downtown area close to restaurants, hotels and shopping:
    > The city block where the Sarasota City Hall, City Commission, City Building Department, and parking lot are located could be transformed into a multifunctional building and multistory parking garage designed to withstand a category 5 storm. The 1st through 4th levels of the parking garage would be for parking and the City Hall, City Commission Chambers, Building Department, and other city offices would be built on several floors on top of the parking garage. Connected to this structure would be the Sarasota Orchestra Building with a concert hall on the 1st floor, an area for art, sitting, and refreshments on the 2nd floor. youth program and concert rooms on the 3rd floor, education and community outreach program rooms on the 4th floor, administration offices on the 5th floor, and an outdoor performing area on the rooftop.

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