What’s really going on with the Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion?

Lido Beach pool in 1950

If you have any confusion about the Lido Beach Pool and the Pavilion development project then Liz Alpert’s article in the SRQ may answer some of your questions. Plans go back to 2011-2012 with city and community member involvement. The restaurant and cabanas have been highlights of community discussion about this project for a while and Sarasota City Commissioner, Alpert, aims to clear up what’s really going on. Take a look below!

Clarity at the Lido Pool and Pavillion


There has been a lot of misinformation and mischaracterization about the planned improvements at the Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion, which has been causing concern in the community. My hope is that I can provide some clarity about what is really happening.

Before I describe what is actually in the plans, I wanted to give a little background on how we got to this point. Plans for what to do with the pool, concession and pavilion were conceived about seven years ago as a response to the likelihood that the pool was going to close due to its condition and non-use. So, an ad hoc committee of the Lido Key Residents Association was formed to come up with ideas for how to save the pool and pavilion, which had fallen into disrepair. In 2012, the ad hoc committee made a presentation to the Sarasota City Commission, including a proposed site plan that included a wish list of amenities they would like to see at the pool and pavilion. The wish list included enhanced food service, cabanas at the pool, a Tiki bar, more seating, a splash pad for children and a children’s playground. In addition, the residents’ presentation suggested the entire facility should be run by one entity. At that time, the economy was still depressed, which meant that the City did not have the money to make the improvements. Encouraged by the residents, the City Commission decided to look for a concessionaire/operator who would be willing to make the improvements and form a public/private partnership with the City.

In 2014, the City advertised this opportunity, spelling out what the City wanted to accomplish for the residents.  Only two vendors responded. One of them only wanted to do a restaurant. The other group was willing to do the entire revitalization project. Thus, they became the preferred prospective concessionaire. Since 2014, they have been working on creating a plan that is acceptable to the Lido Key Residents Association and other City residents. There have been numerous community meetings. After each one, the concessionaires made modifications to their plan based on the feedback they received.

The actual plan is to renovate the existing buildings, including the restrooms, and add improved seating to the patio area. A new restaurant is not being built. There will be table service, but there will also be a walk-up counter for those who would just prefer to order some food and take it with them back to the beach. A thatched roof will be added over the open patio area to provide more shade. In addition, just off the patio there will be a 30-seat tiki bar.

For those who would just like to sit or bring their own food, there will be picnic tables with umbrellas in the open area just West of the patio heading toward the water, but within the dune area.

In the pool area, there will be cabanas that can be rented for the day. However, they are only one option at the pool. The pool can still be enjoyed without having to rent a cabana. There will be seating, some shade, and a splash pad for children. There will be a charge for access to the pool, just as there is now.

The green area in front of the pavilion will have three age-appropriate playgrounds and picnic tables with umbrellas, so that parents can sit and watch their children play. There is no charge for the playgrounds or any of the amenities outside of the pool area.

The value of the improvements will be tracked and expected to be significant. This public/private partnership is expected to create a positive cash flow for the City. The entire facility, including the bathrooms, will remain open and accessible to the public as it has always been.

Liz Alpert is a Sarasota City Commissioner

Source: https://www.srqmagazine.com/srq-daily/2018-04-16/8197_Clarity-at-the-Lido-Pool-and-Pavillion

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