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SPORTS, MUSIC AND HIGH-END WEDDINGS Before taking public comment, Public Works Director Todd Kucharski walks the audience through the Payne Park master plan. Photo by Stan Zimmerman CITY OF SARASOTA STAFF HEARS A LOT OF IDEAS FOR USE OF PAYNE PARK, ALONG WITH PLEAS TO RELAX THE RULES FOR RENTING THE AUDITORIUM By Stan Zimmerman City Editor About 60 people came to the Payne Park Auditorium Monday, Dec. 9. More than a few were there to defend the building, for they feared the city was preparing to tear it down. meetings, public hearings, dance instruction and more. The city's Public Works Department called the meeting this week to solicit ideas about the future of the park and not specifically to address the future of the auditorium. "We're not going to tear it down tomorrow," said Todd Kucharski, public works director. There was some substance behind their fear, for the Sarasota City Commission, during a budget workshop, heard the building needed a new roof, air conditioning and wooden floor. And it further heard the building was RE-PRIMING THE PUMP not drawing sufficient business to offset the Payne Park evolved from an eyesore to a costs. One option: Tear down the building. jewel over the past decade. Deeded to the city The auditorium was purpose-built in 1962 as a 24-acre park in the 1920s by the Payne as a community hall. Over the decades, it Family, it became a revenue source in the has hosted dances, expos, neighborhood hardscrabble 1930s when the city converted

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