Patterson Foundation offering up to $5 million in new funding for The Bay, with initial contribution of $2 million for Phase 1 initiatives

Nonprofit will provide matching funds up to $3 million for other philanthropic contributions

A graphic shows potential events for visitors to Phase 1 of the Bay on a Friday night during the summer. Image courtesy Bay Park Conservancy

The Patterson Foundation this week announced that it will give the Bay Park Conservancy (BPC) up to $5 million for operations and construction of Phase 1 of the master plan for The Bay on the City of Sarasota’s 53 waterfront acres in downtown Sarasota.

Planned on the southernmost 10 acres of The Bay, Phase 1 will feature a number of amenities, including a recreational fishing pier, enhancement of the native mangroves, and space for arts and cultural events and dining. It will be located west of the U.S. 41 intersection with Boulevard of the Arts.

In a news release, the Patterson Foundation explains that it has provided an initial contribution of $2 million “to propel the positive momentum” of The Bay, noting that the Sarasota City Commission voted unanimously on Sept. 6, 2018 to approve the master plan for the new city park.

The nonprofit BPC, working under an agreement the City Commission also approved unanimously — on April 15 — will provide detailed plans for each phase of the park, raise funds for the amenities, manage events on the site and provide general oversight of The Bay.

The Patterson Foundation also will provide $1 million — up to a total of $3 million — for each philanthropic contribution of $5 million toward Phase 1’s projected $15-million expense and its 2019-2022 operating budget, the release points out.

“Since 2016, The Patterson Foundation has supported the community in imagining the possibilities for 53 acres of the city’s most precious land on Sarasota’s bayfront known as The Bay,” the release says. The Foundation provided $300,000 “in catalytic funding and consulting support benefiting the formation and work of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) from the inception of its inclusive master-planning phase onward,” the release adds.

The BPC is the successor to the SBPO.

“The Bay’s vision is defined by a sense of inclusiveness that is aligned with The Patterson Foundation’s philosophy,” the release also explains.

“The additional support will boost The Bay’s capacity to realize the transformative potential of the community’s vision and create new public amenities — tangibly demonstrating the possibilities for a public park that is free, open and welcoming to our diverse region while offering fitness, health, cultural, recreational, and educational activities, and events,” the release says.