The Bay Park Conservancy Awarded $100,000 by Van Wezel Foundation Board Members

The Bay Park Conservancy Conceptual Masterplan — Approved by the Sarasota City Commission in September 2018.

Originally published by Tampa Bay Newswire

SARASOTA, Fla. – October 25, 2022 –  The Van Wezel Foundation Board of Directors has committed a $100,000 gift to help fund Phase 2 of The Bay, the newly-opened signature public park on Sarasota Bay.

Phase 2 is focused on completing the “ring” around the park, which includes Dockside (South Canal District), the Cultural District along N. Tamiami Trail, the Western Shoreline, and the Sunset Boardwalk.

“My fellow board members and I join the community in celebrating the opening of The Bay Park,” says Jim Travers, Chair of the Van Wezel Foundation Board of Directors. “Seeing the Master Plan come to life inspired our shared vision for how special the 53 acres will be, including a world-class performing arts center at the heart of it.”

Diagram showing areas of work in Bay Park Phase 2.
This grant goes toward furthering Phase 2 of The Bay

“The Bay Park Conservancy appreciates the generosity of the Foundation board members. The Van Wezel Foundation is an important community partner in our aspirations to create a place where arts, culture, the environment, nature and recreation intersect,” says AG Lafley, Founding CEO of The Bay Park Conservancy. “We are grateful for this meaningful gift as we continue to build one park for all.”

The Bay, which has been in development since 2019, recently opened on October 14 and includes more than 14 acres of revitalized greenspace, a larger-than-life Ibis playground, Common Ground lawns, a Fountain Garden, multiple walkways, an outdoor Reading Room, an ADA-accessible paddle launch, restored and preserved mangroves and shorelines, and spectacular sunset views.

For more information about The Bay Park Conservancy, visit or contact Julia Groom at or 941-786-8732.

About The Bay

The Bay is a new, signature, public park along Sarasota Bay. Designed to be “one park for all,” The Bay is open and accessible, free and welcoming to the full and rich diversity of the community, now and for generations to come. 

The Bay preserves, restores and transforms 53 acres of precious city-owned land along Sarasota Bay into a blue and green oasis – providing a sustainable bayfront gathering place for the community to experience a wide range of park uses, free programs and events.

The park will cost about $150 million and will take between 7-10 years, over 3 or more phases to complete. The Blue Pagoda serves as a welcome center for visitors and an on-site office for The Bay Park Conservancy. For more information or general inquiries about this initiative, please visit or call 941-203-5316.

About The Bay Park Conservancy

The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC) was formed as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization in 2019 to implement the master plan approved by the Sarasota City Commission to conserve 53 acres of public land for a signature park on Sarasota Bay. The BPC entered a long-term partnership with the City and will fund, develop, operate, and sustain the park for the benefit of the community, now, and for generations to come. For more information, visit

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