City to decide if Sarasota Orchestra will move to Payne Park

Updated: May. 17, 2019 at 9:52 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota Orchestra wants to find a new home and they’ve decided they want it to be at Payne Park in Downtown Sarasota.

Their proposal shows that the new building would be built on top of the tennis courts and green area that surrounds it. So if the city approves the plan, it would completely change the area.

Building would take up seven acres and include a 1,800 seat concert hall and a 700 seat recital hall. The proposal includes relocating the tennis courts to behind the orchestra's building and rebuilding them on wetlands.

The Sarasota Orchestra decided they wanted to make the move to the park because it would allow them to move out of a flood zone, stay within city limits, and have close proximity to a public parking garage.

But, some people oppose the move. A petition against the proposal has nearly 1,700 signatures on it from concerned citizens.

The Vice President of Preserve Payne Park, Sami Leigh Scott, said using the park for anything other than public activities goes against the Payne family's wishes. People who oppose this also say it would take away green space from downtown, which is already pretty limited.

Scott said their group supports the Sarasota Orchestra and it's growth, but they just don't want the building to be built in Payne Park.

"The good thing about the orchestra is that there's many other options around the city that they can choose and find this perfect home. They don't have to destroy neighbors, wildlife, they don't have to destroy a community so their music can be heard. There are other options," Scott said.

The proposal will be discussed at the city’s commission meeting on Monday, May 20th at 6 p.m. City commissioner Hagen Brody said that he wants to support both The Sarasota Orchestra and Payne Park and has asked to see other location options for the orchestra. There will be a chance for public comment at the meeting and a decision is expected to be made by commissioners.

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