As a part of the Preserve Payne Park campaign, we the undersigned hereby declare our support to preserve and protect Payne Park in perpetuity as a park, as open public recreational space and green space, as provided for in the deed restrictions stipulated by the Gift of Calvin and Martha Payne to the citizens of the City of Sarasota.

Each of us opposes without reservation the Sarasota Orchestra proposal to construct a concert hall and parking lot on seven (7) acres within any bounds of the Payne Park property. We contend that construction of a 2,500-seat theater and parking on this rare open space oasis in the middle of the City will cause irreparable harm to the wildlife, environment, urban ecosystem, neighboring residents, and patrons of Payne Park.

We urge the City, as trustees of this community green space, to heed this petition and keep to their legal obligation to administer Payne Park solely for the purposes specified—a PARK…meaning, open space, nature, trails, play grounds, and opportunities for outdoor physical fitness, connecting citizens to nature.

We urge the City to be an upstanding steward of our community green space and plan for the outdoor opportunities to connect Payne Park to the future Legacy Bike Trail extension and to keep the City’s promise to enhance and expand the existing tennis center; and NOT sacrifice valuable park open space to non-conforming development in the process. The City should not engage in a quid pro quo with the Sarasota Orchestra as a condition of improving the existing tennis center.

We urge the City to halt all efforts to give away seven ( 7 ) acres of Payne Park (or any portion thereof) to Sarasota Orchestra and to halt support of development of the park in a manner that is not in keeping with the legal intent of this generous gift to the citizens of the City of Sarasota. Preserve Payne Park.