Grant for Phase 1 development continues the foundation’s long-running support of The Bay Park
SARASOTA, Fla. – August 31, 2021 – Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded The Bay Park Conservancy a $300,000 grant to support the development of the first 10 acres of The Bay Park. The funding will help transform land that is mostly a parking lot into a blue-and-green oasis that celebrates nature, promotes environmental sustainability, and provides accessibility for all.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Mark Pritchett, Jon Thaxton, and the entire Gulf Coast Community Foundation team to bring the community together in support of The Bay, a new public park on Sarasota Bay that is open and accessible, free and welcoming to all,” said AG Lafley, Founding CEO of the Bay Park Conservancy. “Gulf Coast is one of the partners without whom The Bay simply wouldn’t be where it is today.”
“The plan for The Bay reflects our community’s bold vision of what’s possible on this precious stretch of bayfront,” said Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “From the beginning, we have been confident that The Bay Park Conservancy can deliver what our community values most.”
Jon Thaxton, Gulf Coast’s senior vice president for community investment, has been a passionate leader, advocate, and supporter of The Bay. His expertise has been instrumental to the project since its inception.
“The community’s collective vision to transform the Sarasota bayfront into a world-class park, accessible to all, has been a driving personal inspiration for this project,” said Thaxton. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to correct numerous environmental mistakes of the past, provide jobs, and offer future generations a sustainable asset that will benefit the community in perpetuity.”
About The Bay
The approved Bay master plan will conserve 53 acres of city-owned land and create an iconic public park along Sarasota Bay. The Park will cost about $100-150 million and will take between 7-10 years, over 3 or more phases to complete. The Blue Pagoda serves as a welcome center for visitors and an on-site office for The Bay Park Conservancy. For more information or general inquiries about this initiative, please visit www.thebaysarasota.orgor call 941-203-5316.
About The Bay Park Conservancy
The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC) was formed as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization in 2019 to implement the master plan approved by the Sarasota City Commission to conserve 53 acres of public land for a community park on Sarasota Bay. The BPC entered a long-term partnership with the City and will fund, develop, operate, and sustain the park for the benefit of the community, now, and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.thebaysarasota.org.