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Sarasota Orchestra will leave Bayfront location, city officials react

New home for Orchestra still unknown
In The Spotlight - Sarasota Orchestra
In The Spotlight - Sarasota Orchestra
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota Orchestra has announced that it is seeking a new location to build a new music center .

The Orchestra has been in talks with the City Commission since 2019 which removed Payne Park from consideration. The conversation has continued and the Orchestra says they have openly stated the need for two performance spaces and other music organizations, extensive education space, room for our internationally acclaimed Sarasota Music Festival, and other necessary practice, rehearsal, library and storage spaces.

“Our detailed, multi-year planning work identified the need for seven acres.  This has been our plan throughout our process, and we are committed to bringing it to reality, even though it will not reside in Payne Park.  We have not ruled out options within the city limits, but at this time there appear to be no viable options.  Since Payne Park is not an option, and other locations we reviewed with City Officials have all been ruled out, we are currently concentrating on opportunities in Sarasota County,” reads a statement from the Orchestra.

The Orchestra is engaged in confidential site analysis work and that process is expected to last until the spring given the impact by the ongoing pandemic. 

Mayor Hagen Brody and City Commissioner Marlon Brown released a statement, disappointed that the Orchestra is leaving its downtown location but acknowledging that the decision to relocate is ultimately up to the organization:

“Regrettably, we must acknowledge that this is ultimately the Sarasota Orchestra’s decision. Of the city locations previously offered and considered, including its current location on the Bayfront and in or around Payne Park, the Sarasota Orchestra is clearly not open to those locations and desires to look elsewhere. We wish the Orchestra the best of luck in its relocation search and extend our continued offer to assist with any additional support with a location in the city limits that it may find suitable. That offer remains on the table.”

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