City of Sarasota trying to figure out how to operate Payne Park skate park

Payne Park's Skate Park in Hands of City Commission

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The future of the skate park at Payne Park in Sarasota is in the hands of City Commission. They’re working to see who can take charge of the popular site.

“We just roll around, it’s pretty cool,” said Erik Gilbert.

For Gilbert, skating is a passion and the skate park at Payne Park is where he goes to fulfill it. He loves to see younger kids doing the same.

“For the most part, some little kids are on it, they’re actually trying to get better and stuff,” he said.

The skate park is property of the City of Sarasota but operated by the non-profit “Sk8skool.” However, their lease is coming to an end and they are not planning to continue operating the park.

Board member Nadine Hunger says they can’t continue monitoring the park as entry fees were not enough to fulfill requirements.

In the meantime, Parks and Recreation officials will bring two options to the City Commission. One is to allow the public to use the park unmonitored. The second is having city staff take over its operations.

“With the second option, if the commission chooses to staff it, of course make it free to the public, that would require us to come back with a budget amendment. We did not budget the skate park during the budget cycle but we have to bring that back to the commission to be approved if that’s the direction it’s going to,” said Jerry Fogle, Parks and Recreation Division.

For Sk8skool, Hunger says they want what’s best for the park and for it to be free of charge and a safe place for everyone.

“Kids come here decently if they actually want to and a lot of people come here to hang out and stuff,” Gilbert.

The City Commission will take this up at Monday’s meeting.

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