SARASOTA – More than 5 years of planning and regrouping, The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization has gotten the green light to move forward with their Bayfront construction master plan.


“Really what I wanted to see was something great for our community, not only now but for future generations. For our kids and grandkids to have something that when they look back can say, we made good decisions,” said Michael Klauber, board member of Sarasota Bayfront planning organization.


“This may sound a little bit corny, but I believe that a significant part of one’s life should be dedicated to giving back to the community in which they live,” said A.G. Lafley, chairman of Sarasota Bayfront planning organization.


Six phases in total, their first step with plan 1a will be initiated tomorrow morning,


Included in this stage will be a Pier, roundabout, and overpass among other things, positioned on the southernmost portion of the property along Blvd of the Arts, and will take around 5-7 years and cost about 15-25 million to complete.


Private sources, donations and philanthropists will be providing the financing for the first stage.


Steven Cover, City of Sarasota Planning Director says the first stage will give people a taste of what’s to come.


“It’s creating that central gathering pale for everybody in the city to come to and enjoy. The city’s growing as you know, pretty quickly right now, but I think this will spur on a lot of interest to live in Sarasota, not just part time but full time,” said Cover.


The existing G. Wiz museum, will be demolished under the plan.


And as for the Van Wezel, Mary Benzel Executive Director of Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall- saysthe hall will be repurposed for other events.


“We plan to have a new performing art center that will actually have 2 theatres in it, one a major hall with would have 2300 seats and the other community and arts education building where it would be about 400 seats, and do all sorts of exciting programs in which we aren’t able to do today,” said Benzel.


“It’s my hope that we get to take our community’s dreams and turn them into reality,” said Klauber.