SARASOTA - An updated design of the first phase of the $300 million bayfront redevelopment includes a spiraling pier that sweeps into Sarasota Bay and curves back to the shoreline, but most of all, protects the mangroves,

Designers of the plan envision sunset overlooks and educational opportunities with the visible seagrass and mangroves that the pier arcs around to protect the environment.

The preliminary design was presented to the community on Wednesday for input.

The original, more traditional pier jutting into the bay would have had to be built over mangroves and seagrass. The new curving shape avoids the mangroves, embraces the seagrass and is more ecologically sensitive.

The Bay Park Conservancy plans to hold seven public workshops over the next eight months to involve the community and City Commission in the design and decision–making process.