Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization marks formal transition to The Bay Conservancy

Leaders named for nonprofit that will manage and raise funds for new City of Sarasota bayfront amenities

A graphic shows facets of the master plan for The Bay. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

During its Dec. 4 board meeting, the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) formally began its transition to The Bay Conservancy, the SBPO has announced.

The Conservancy is the entity the City of Sarasota will rely on to implement The Bay project, which has been designed with new park and cultural arts amenities on the city’s 53 acres of bayfront property, the SBPO has announced.

Cathy Layton, a retired real estate broker, will serve as chair of the conservancy, a news release says, while Jennifer Compton, an attorney with Shumaker, Kendrick & Loop in Sarasota, will serve as secretary. Both were members of the SBPO.

The Conservancy’s first meeting will be conducted on Jan. 15, 2019, at the Blue Pagoda in downtown Sarasota, the release adds.

As described to the Sarasota City Commission this summer, the Conservancy will be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its representatives already are working with the city on a long-term partnership agreement “that will establish the Conservancy as the development, operations, and private funding partner with the City in the build-out and management of the park at The Bay,” the release explains.

A.G. Lafley, past chair of the SBPO, will assume a newly created position of startup CEO for the Conservancy, serving through 2019, the release says. He will work alongside Bill Waddill, who will serve as managing director of the Conservancy, as he did with the SBPO.

“Lafley and Waddill have complementary roles and responsibilities: Waddill, for design, planning, development, and construction of The Bay, beginning with Phase 1, which was approved by the City Commission on September 6, 2018,” the release notes. “Lafley will be responsible for fundraising, organization planning and resources, commercial and business operating strategies, and continued community outreach.” “Lafley will serve at the sole discretion of the board for $1 per year,” the release notes.

Other SBPO board members transitioning into the Conservancy are Keith DuBose of the Matthews Eastmoore law firm, Michael Klauber of Michael’s on East and Cynthia McCague, a former Coca-Cola executive. The Conservancy likely will add more board members and ex officio members after the first of the year, the release says.