|SANCA becomes Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy and new members elected to Board of Directors|
Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc., the nonprofit operator of Nathan Benderson Park, officially announces its name change to Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is contracted with Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources to manage and operate the 600-acre community park that includes North America’s premier 2,000-meter sprint rowing course and regatta center.
The name change reflects a stronger alignment between the operating organization and the park. The Conservancy was created to steward Nathan Benderson Park by advancing four priorities set forth by the county parks department.
“The new name will further unify the park and its operator,” says Stephen V. Rodriguez, the Conservancy’s interim president and CEO/chief operating officer. “It will also further strengthen and reinforce the Nathan Benderson Park brand within the community and national and international markets.
A new chair and members of the board of directors have been elected to govern the Conservancy. Michael Taaffe, partner with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, serves as the new chair of the Conservancy’s board of directors.
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Conservancy at this point in time,” Taaffe said. “Since 2014, NBP has generated more than $200 million dollars in economic impact to the community. I firmly believe that the park can do even more for this community and I’m eager to be a part of making the future a reality.”
Returning board members include board secretary Dr. Joanne Fava, a sports medicine specialist; chairman-elect Curtis Jordan, former rowing coach; and Sarasota County Commissioner Ron Cutsinger. New board members elected to two-year terms include:
• Linda de Mello, former manager of the Cross College Alliance;
• Molly Jackson, owner of New Balance Sarasota and University Park, Molly’s! Boutique, and Fleet Feet Sarasota;
• Louis Kosiba, retired business executive and president of Friends of The Legacy Trail;
• Carolyn Mason, former Sarasota County commissioner; and
• Jay Riley, senior director of corporate partnerships and external affairs for the Office of External Affairs and Government Relations, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
“I’m looking forward to this next chapter for Nathan Benderson Park,” Rodriguez said. “Together, the dedicated and energized board of directors, along with the staff, volunteers and program participants will continue to drive and elevate the park’s success.”
The board of directors will steward the Conservancy to fulfill these priorities, set forth by Sarasota County:To establish and maintain a world-class multi-purpose event center that will enable a return on investment to benefit taxpayers and the state of Florida To be an Olympic-level training center for regional, national and international athletesTo promote a better quality of life through health and wellness by providing opportunities to walk, run, bike, row, paddle, fish and moreTo provide an entry point into aquatic and sports programs through community outreach.