City Commissioners Back the Bay Project in Sarasota
SARASOTA - The Bay project moves forward with its plan to develop a legacy park. Monday, Sarasota City Commissioners back the Bay project with a new tax district. This means the taxes you’re already paying include the new project and the properties surrounding the soon-to-be park.
Chief Implementation Officer, Bill Waddill, with the Bay Park Conservancy says this is not a new tax.
"All it does is the current property values that are in place will remain in place," Bill Waddill said. "And as property values rise, which we expect will happen, then it allows us to capture that incremental rise and recycle it back into this project to help build our park and to help build the new performing arts center.”
Sarasota resident, Rebecca Tharpe, says she understands why these city taxes are necessary.
"Everybody is worried about their tax dollars," Rebecca Tharpe said. "And you know, we recently got our tax bill for our home, and it’s a lot. Nobody wants that, but you know sometimes to improve things, you have to invest with money.”
The first step is complete with the city. The next step is for the county. When both the city and county come to an agreement, the Bay park project will be able to move forward.
Waddill says this is really important to the future of the phases of the park.
"It shows a long-term partnership and commitment between the city and the county," Waddill said. "Which will really help drive other public funding sources, as well as private philanthropy.”
Because of philanthropy, 80% of their funds are already covered for phase one. Waddill says it is about $25 million, and they already have about $14 million dollars in commitments.
The Bay hopes to break ground on a 10-acre Phase one of the Bay park in about two years.