This update is the 4th of 4 weekly e-newsletters looking back on Sarasota Tomorrow successes. The next issue of the Insider will look forward to the current and emerging strategic priorities Sarasota Tomorrow will be addressing in 2016-2017.
Building on Past Sarasota Tomorrow Success
Bringing the Orioles spring training and year-round Florida operations to our community was a key focus of The Chamber’s Sarasota Tomorrow initiative a number of years ago. A recent study showed that the positive economic impact of their presence is greater than ever:
* The Orioles economic impact in the Sarasota area is more than $81 million annually.
* Thanks to a multi-platform marketing partnership provided by the Orioles to Visit Sarasota County, the number of visitors to Sarasota from the mid-Atlantic region grew 128% from 2014 to 2015.
* More than 75,000 players, families and spectators have participated in various baseball tournaments and games at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex since 2013.
* Since moving year-round operations to Sarasota in 2010, the Orioles have donated more than $2.25 million in cash and in-kind contributions to the Sarasota community.
*In the six years since the Orioles moved Major League Spring Training to Sarasota, more than 640,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles baseball at Ed Smith Stadium.
Phenomenal beaches and world-class arts and cultural resources attract people and investment to our region. The Nathan Benderson Park, with its Suncoast Aquatic and Nature Center, is another unique destination that “puts greater Sarasota on the map.”
* In 2015, Nathan Benderson Park produced $26.8 million in indirect economic impact. This is a 134% increase over the projected $11.5 million. During this time, the park held 33 events, hosted 31 teams for training and welcomed over 18,000 non-local athletes and 35,000 spectators.
* The visiting participants and spectators generate additional outside funds for the local community through the local option sales tax, the tourist (bed) tax and the gas tax.
* Steady growth of core events is creating a more regular, ongoing economic impact, and investment in the park is enhancing residents’ quality of life.
*Hosting the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the 2017 World Rowing Championships has accelerated key transportation improvements in the region, benefiting us all.
While the Sarasota Tomorrow initiative has had substantive focus and impact advancing the sports and recreational tourism area of economic development, it also targets improvements to our road and transportation network for example:
* $45 million in advanced funding was secured to fast-track the Highway 301 reconstruction, resulting in an earlier expected completion date and the creation of over 600 jobs.
* The US Highway 301 rebuild has set the stage to turn around an aging corridor, positioning it for new investment and future opportunities.
* The North Tamiami Trail corridor is involved in a $5 million pedestrian friendly pilot project, approved through the Sarasota Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, to improve multiple types of movement along this key road and community gateway.
* This section of U.S. 41 is also undergoing planning and design to create tools to accelerate revitalization of this high-potential corridor.