Payne Park skate park to close temporarily beginning Friday, Nov. 15

With operator’s contract expired, City Commission on Nov. 18 to consider how to proceed

Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The skate park at Payne Park in downtown Sarasota will be closed temporarily beginning Friday, Nov. 15, as the City of Sarasota “plans for future operations of the park,” the city has announced.

The city’s lease with the current skate park operator, Sk8skool, expired Nov. 14, a news release explains. A request for proposals issued by the city last month “resulted in no responses from parties interested in taking over the operations at the park, including the current vendor,” the release adds.

During the Nov. 18 City Commission meeting, city Parks and Recreation District staff “will ask the commission to provide direction on the future operations of the skate park,” the release continues. “Two options will be proposed, both of which would make the park free of charge for users”: allowing the public to have unmonitored daily access, or having city staff take over the daily operations, which would require the hiring of additional employees and a budget amendment.

“Without having received any bids from potential operators, the best course of action is to temporarily close the park so that we can carefully plan our next move,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Fogle in the release. “Our goal is to move forward with an operating plan that provides the best possible experience for the skating community and for our youth to enjoy the park. We look forward to reopening as soon as possible,” he added in the release.

The discussion of skate park operations will be heard under the New Business portion of the agenda, during the evening session of the City Commission’s Nov. 18 meeting. That session will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, which is located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota.