Sarasota collecting ideas for future Payne Park plans

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SARASOTA, FLA. - Located in the downtown Sarasota, Payne Park is a popular destination.

“We pretty much consider it our Central Park. It is right downtown and we think that is a pretty good analogy. It has a lake. It is not in New York that is always a benefit” said John Killen.

The downtown park gives visitors a chance to enjoy multiple recreational opportunities including Frisbee golf. It also has a 12 court tennis complex, a skate park and a state of the art children’s playground.

On Monday night, city officials are hosting a community vision workshop to hear ideas from residents for future park improvements or new features.

Brandi Gutierrez loves Payne Park and told ABC7 she visits the park every day with her 1-year-old son.

“We usually walk a little bit and we go and play around in the playground.”

Gutierrez also jogs through the park in the evenings and would like to have improved lighting. “I would just add a few more lights. At nighttime it is a little dark when you are trying to run around the park.”

Payne park tennis players had suggestions like better court maintenance and additional parking.

“In the winter we have a lot of people coming Canada and from up north and of course the population swells and so does the tennis population,” said Killen.

Over at the skate park, Patrick Cory would like to have longer hours and some shade trees.

“You want to hang out in place that you can get some shade but we don’t have that any more.”

City officials tell ABC 7 there is no money in the budget for capital improvements but they want to have a plan in place in case should the budget change.

The community vision workshop for Payne Park is Monday night from 6-8p.m. at the Payne Park Auditorium, 2100 East Laurel Street.