Latest Bayside Park Design Deemed Uninspiring

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Town Manager Roger Hernstadt just can’t get it right when it comes to redeveloping Bayside Park. At first Hernstadt and the town staff presented a 40-foot high view-obstructing building that would have been wedged between Nervous Nellie’s and Snug Harbor.

The town has already squandered an undisclosed sum of money on the first design which was blasted by members of the community once they found out about it.

The town council then tasked Hernstadt to come back with a design that preserved the view of the water and included shade trees and a Veterans Memorial the community could be proud of. However, Hernstadt’s latest attempt at redeveloping the park was labeled uninspiring by the town council yesterday.

There were no shade trees, palm trees still obstruct the view of the water and the monument came across as an after thought.

Councilman Jim Atterholt said he wanted to see the design team attend a council meeting and present the plan. Hernstadt is having issues understanding what the council wants for the park and relaying that to the design consultants. Atterholt also said by only sending a proposed design to the council, which he did by e-mail, the public does not get a chance to see the design. That was the criticism of town staff the first time around when the project grew, without anyone knowing, into the 3-story facility which included public restrooms, staff office space and upland services for the mooring field residents.

Hernstadt said he’s not trying to eliminate the public from the process. “I wanted to share with you what I received. I myself have some questions about it.”


Atterholt said he wants a formal presentation scheduled so the community can see what’s being proposed. “We have a lot of people around that area and we want to make sure they feel like they are part of the process.”

Councilman Dan Allers agreed that the latest drawings are uninspiring and more work needs to be done.

Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros commented that the shade trees were something they instructed Hernstadt to include in the new design and they mysteriously disappeared.

Atterholt added that the Veterans Memorial was underwhelming. Hernstadt commented to the council that if they see something better on the Internet, regarding the memorial, they should feel free to share that with him.

Local resident and Vietnam Veteran Forest Critser has been trying to get the town to construct some type of Memorial for over four years now.

Hernstadt said there have been several meetings with the public about the project (which isn’t true, there has not been one public hearing on this project). “I feel like sometimes this is like trying to make dinner reservations with 12 friends and you’re asking each one where you want to eat and by the time you get back to the 12th you have to go back to the first one and start all over again.” Hernstadt says he’s looking for feedback from the council now so he can get the design addressed.

Councilman Bill Veach said it would be helpful if the council had several ideas to choose from rather than just one.

Hernstadt responded: “In order to avoid a situation like….guess a number between 1 and 1,000…7…wrong, try again…is…if there’s something that you see that you like, or if you had a mental concept, it would help us that much sooner to get a final product. They (the designers) think their idea is a good idea. Whether you think that’s a good idea may not be the case.”

Clearly from the meeting yesterday, its not the case.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The town has to continue to borrow money. Who is going to pay it back and how? We townspeople should be asking this question of all of these projects. You continue to borrow. There are only so many residents. You continue to restrict businesses. So sooner or later my taxes go up to pay for these projects. What’s the payback to the town? Most of the business just had to shut down for Covid. Now you want them to sacrifice for construction. It’s a shame. Think of what you are doing as you sit in that office. The business people have bills, employees etc to pay. If they aren’t at 100% the lose money. Are you the council willing to take no pay for days, weeks, months? They can’t afford another hit. Red tide, hurricanes, Covid and now the towns projects. Help us townspeople keep low taxes by helping business thrive and grow.

  2. Uninspiring. Have you ever watched a meeting where river talks? Watching paint dry is more exciting and interesting.

  3. This Bayside Park project should be scrapped! There could be a very simple update of the area with park benches, landscape and possibly a splash pad but no big buildings or blocking structures. There are two other very important projects we should focus on, Times Square and Bay Oaks, that should receive this money allotted to Bayside Park.

  4. This project needs to tabled at least for now. We’re wasting money and there other pressing needs like the lighting on Estero.

  5. There are several areas on the Island that clearly need improvement including Times Square and Bay Oaks, but I have never understood why so much money is being spent on this project. The $10M budget may not be enough to cover the other two projects sufficiently. Simply maintaining the current design here seems to be the best option with all the other priorities. IMO, it just seems like they’re throwing money at a problem that doesn’t exist.

  6. Hi, has anyone been down during times of year to see how shaded that area is? Marina Village building puts off a lot of shade, especially mid-late afternoon.

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