Prohs wins seat on county’s Parks Advisory and Recreation Council

No other persons nominated for three-year term

Larry Prohs. Image from his Facebook page

With only one nomination offered for the position by a Sarasota County commissioner, Larry Prohs of Sarasota has become the newest member of the county’s Parks Advisory and Recreation Council (PARC).

Commissioner Michael Moran nominated Prohs during the commission’s Jan. 13 meeting.

Hearing none of the other three applicants proposed for the position, Chair Alan Maio closed the nominations and asked, “So someone deliver the good news or the bad news or the mixed news to [Prohs].”

Maio has noted numerous times in the past the numbers of hours that volunteers put into their service on the county’s advisory boards.

Prohs’ term will be in effect through October 2023, a county staff memo said. Each term is for three years.

The county webpage for the PARC board explains that the members “[m]ake recommendations to the County Commission concerning issues relating to parks, beaches, recreation and the acquisition and use of Neighborhood Parkland.” For example, the Nov. 5, 2020 meeting included updates on The Legacy Trail extensions to downtown Sarasota and to North Port, as well as plans for the naming of the new trailheads; an update on sports tourism; and discussions of nominations of properties for future park sites.

The board comprises 11 members who meet the following criteria, the webpage adds:

  • Two with background and experience in parks and/or recreation.
  • Two with background and experience in neighborhood interests.
  • Two with background and experience in real estate or business interests in Sarasota County.
  • One with background and experience in environmental interests in Sarasota County.
  • One representative from the organization Students Taking Active Roles (STAR).
  • Three representing municipal parks and/or recreation interests: from the City of North Port (pursuant to Contract No. 93-314); from the City of Sarasota (pursuant to Contract No. 89-4851); and from the City of Venice (pursuant to Contract No. 2011-421).

The council members meet bimonthly, the webpage says.

In his application for the PARC position, Prohs wrote that he has been a county resident for eight years and that he is a pat-time sales associate of Richard’s Foodporium.

He holds an MBA from the University of Illinois.

“I am a lifelong advocate of fitness, recreation and sustainability,” he continued. “I am a firm believer in quality of life enhancements and especially the effective use of green space.”

Among his community activities, Prohs noted that he has been a Mote Marine Laboratory volunteer docent since 2013; he is a past president of the Sarasota County Master Gardener Program; he has been a member of the Sarasota County Neighborhood Grant Advisory Committee since 2014; and he has served on the Sarasota County Seniors Advisory Council since 2019.

County pickleball facilities have been one focus of the PARC members. Photo courtesy Sarasota County

Another application was submitted by Deborah Pasteur of Sarasota, who noted that she is a North Carolina native. She worked in the coastal Carteret County for more than 35 years, she added. “I love recreation and I think without it our lives could not be complete.”

A May 2008 Carteret County News-Times article identified her as the director of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department during that period.

In her application, Pasteur pointed out, “I have worked with all population groups from children to seniors to the population at large to the special population. I have worked as a project manager building parks boat ramps walking trails, Recreation centers and other structures.” She was in charge of more than 200 acres with tennis courts, softball fields, walking trails, soccer fields, basketball courts, and playground and recreation centers,” she added.

A third applicant, Matthew Wheeler of Sarasota, noted that he is a graduate of Riverview High School in Sarasota, as well as Florida Gulf Coast University. An employee of Detwiler’s Farm Market since November 2019, he added that he was interested in the PARC position as a means of working on park improvements for the county.

The fourth applicant was Travis Wathen of Venice, who noted that is a landscaper with Geek Landscaping and Design LLC.

“I want to help create programs for all of our county residents,” he wrote. “This includes having programs for our youth which is very important to keep them busy during the summer and help foster them in the correct direction in life choices.”

Wathen added that the worked for the City of Lake Wales for four years before relocation to Sarasota County. He also is a member of the Sarasota Tree Advisory Council.

1 thought on “Prohs wins seat on county’s Parks Advisory and Recreation Council”

  1. It would be hard for the supreme board of a county to act more like an exclusive club. Nothing against Mr. Prohs, but how does it seem to regularly happen that perfectly qualified candidates for advisory boards – including the Planning Commission, do not get the time of day in Sarasota County? Bananas anyone?

    Sarcasm aside: This county is throttled by autocracy. Without diverse dialog and wide open transparency, it has no resemblance to a democratic system.

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