Is Payne Park Back On Table For Orchestra?

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY FEB 15, 2021

A plan to relocate the orchestra in the Payne Park area may come back to life with a new City Commission in place.

Mayor Hagen Brody, who about two years ago was part of a majority voting against a plan to relocate the Sarasota Orchestra, has asked the matter to come back to the City Commission on March 1. City rules allow someone on the prevailing side of a vote to call for decisions to be revisited. While he’s still skeptical about the specific plan proposed by the Orchestra previously, he said it’s time to reconsider whether all property in and around Payne Park needs to be discounted in the search to find the Orchestra a new home.

“Since that decision in 2019, I along with many others, have worked tirelessly to identify another plausible location that keeps the Sarasota Orchestra in the City of Sarasota and preferably to many, downtown,” Brody wrote. “I have personally inquired into locations that seemingly could have worked at first blush, but for different and legitimate reasons, ultimately, were not feasible. Furthermore, since that decision the Commission has commenced the process of converting over 200 acres to new park space in our City, more than any other Commission in our history.”

Brody suggests in the letter that the city faces the “urgent and troubling likelihood of losing our Orchestra.” The Sarasota Orchestra is the longest continuous performing orchestra in Florida. It first performed as the Florida West Coast Symphony in 1949.

“While I remain displeased with concept as originally presented, in keeping with our mission to maintain the City of Sarasota as a cultural and arts center for generations to come, I have come to believe we as a Commission must act and should reconsider our prohibition that would allow the Sarasota Orchestra to further explore concepts that could potentially emerge as a mutually beneficial marriage between Payne Park and the Orchestra.”

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