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Sarasota Orchestra Says It Will Pursue Options Outside Of City For New Venue

May 30, 2019

The Sarasota Orchestra will look beyond the city limits for a new home. The announcement comes a week after Sarasota rejected the orchestra's plan to build a new music center at downtown Payne Park.

In a statement, the orchestra said "pressing calendar constraints and acoustic limitations at the six venues used by Sarasota Orchestra currently hinder growth and future achievement of its mission."

In June of 2018, the organization's Board of Directors voted to pursue a site for its new music center off the Sarasota bayfront. Orchestra leaders say a number of critical factors informed that decision including the extended timeline to build out "The Bay," the new waterfront redevelopment project, and increasing risks with coastal construction and sea level rise.

Last week, after several hours of public comment, the Sarasota City Commission rejected the orchestra's proposal to build a new 2,500 seat concert hall at the city-owned park.

Those against the plan said a concert hall would reduce greenspace, harm wildlife and increase traffic. The new building would also have required relocating the popular Payne Park Tennis Center.

Just an hour after the Sarasota Orchestra released its statement, the city followed with one of its own saying, "it will leave no stone unturned in efforts to continue this strong, longstanding and productive relationship."