Longboat Key Town Amenities Upgrades Eyed


Plans are moving forward for the development of a town center at Bay Isles in Longboat Key, a move which was affirmed by a 2013 Urban Land Institute (ULI) report.

In May 2014, the Long Boat Key Town purchased a 2.81-acre vacant land at 594 Bay Isles Road, a site recommended by the ULI report. Plans for the town center development were presented to the Sarasota County Commission in October 2014 for approval and possible support funding. The ULI report underscored the importance of a vibrant center of community space as a strengthening element in the civic activities in Longboat Key.

Expanded activity area looms

Longboat Key Town Amenities Upgrades Eyed

The ULI recommendation noted that the Bay Isles location is best suited for a community/cultural center with a related park or open space, library, medical services, potential residences, and additional commercial/retail space. The Longboat Key Post Office and Tennis Center, as well as a Publix Supermarket, Sun Trust and a restaurant, are among the facilities bordering the proposed town center site.

This idea of a town center in the Bay Isles commercial area has been brewing as early as 1978 under that year’s Longboat Key Comprehensive Plan. The center was encouraged as well under the town’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan. The SWA Group in 1981, in fact, developed for Arvida a Town Plaza concept for Longboat Key’s Bay Isles area. This plan, which remained in the backburners, was primarily designed for pedestrians, with broad walkways and open gathering places.

Parallel Bayfront Park Upgrade

The recent initiative reviving the Bay Isles Town Center development project runs parallel with plans likewise underway to upgrade the amenities at Longboat Key’s Bayfront Park, a program which the ULI also recommended. A $5.9-million town center was proposed in the park in 2003, but this didn’t push through as the town’s residents rejected in a 2004 referendum the issuance of a $6.4 million bond to fund the project.

Current prospects, however, appear better that the town center project and the Bayfront Park upgrade will finally proceed. Longboat Key could get Sarasota County funding, and the town reportedly has infrastructure surtax funds which could be availed of for park improvements. The additional amenities that residents have asked in previous public hearings include a kayak launch and a new building for meetings and socials.

Public recreation center

Some of the present amenities at Bayfront Park include a 1,350-square-foot multi-purpose activity center for fitness classes, meetings, seminars and lectures. The park also features playing courts for shuffleboard, tennis, and pickelball.

Besides a playground, there’s also a multi-purpose sports field for soccer and softball. Picnic tables overlook the athletic field and playground. The park is likewise just across one of the 11 public beach access points in Longboat Key and provides the only available public restrooms among these entry points.

The immediate vicinity of Bayfront Park is also notable for several single family homes available in Longboat Key wherein condos for sale largely dominate. The prime offering among these single family residences near the park is a Mediterranean style home built in 2001 with a floor area of 4,016 square feet, three bedrooms and an asking price of nearly $1.9 million. Also within the area are sales-listed homes built in the 1950s with tag prices under the $1 million mark and floor areas of around 1,500 square feet.