Bayfront Group Selects Sasaki For Planning

Government

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY OCT 12, 2017

A Boston-based planning firm will help plot the future of a 42-acre public area on the Sarasota Bayfront, marking a major step forward in one of the city’s most closely watched public processes in its history. Now, work will begin on assembling a team of professionals working for Sasaki on the property now being branded as “The Bay.”

“In talking with the community through this process, we heard many times that the bayfront is a great source of pride—a place that truly makes Sarasota unique and special,” says Gina Ford, a principal at Sasaki and a landscape architect. “We are thrilled to build on the great visioning work already completed and to help create a tangible master plan vision for this extraordinary site.”

The firm was among four that presented formal pitches to Sarasota about how it would handle the long planning process ahead. During that process, Ford described The Bay as a “green and blue oasis.” “It just needs polish, and I think we’re the right team to bring it,” she said. The presentation focused on how citizens of Sarasota would experience the public space in moments of relaxation and excitement. 

Michael Klauber, a member of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, says the priority for members of his group remained on the ability to process the needs of the community. “My focus has been on which firm is going to be the best listener,” he said before the selection was made. “Who is going to engage the community in the process?” 

He also noted that the project would be a great one for the consultants to undertake largely because of the guiding principles and vision statements already developed by the locally formed Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 organization, where Klauber played a major role.

The Bay should be able to manage major outdoor events, and also host playgrounds and spots for spontaneous gatherings of individuals, from cocktails to concerts. They showcased past projects on waterfront areas such as the Ridell Master Plan in Portland, Oregon, the Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Gulf State Park Master Plan in Alabama. None of those were small projects, nor will the planning for the future of The Bay. “We also need to know this is a long game we’re playing together,” Ford said. Sasaki officials said an action plan will be needed for The Bay property.

Klauber noted that the selection now begins a negotiation process with Sasaki, where a scope of work and team make-up can be finalized. The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization is tasked with delivering a master plan for the 42 acres of city-owned land on the Bayfront and to propose an operating structure for professional management of the project.

Sasaki presents to the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization.

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