I miss Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin was an irresistible, imaginative boy. Like many six year-olds, he constantly looked for shortcuts around things he didn’t like to do. Avoiding homework, chores or eating his vegetables, Calvin’s antics were epic, providing giggles and grins at bedtime for my sons and I. In one series of strips, Calvin extols the grade-enhancing virtues of attractive packaging. note: please click on the image to read the strip
Betting that style will trump substance, Calvin submits his poor excuse for a book report in the clear plastic binder. He expects his marketing will score big points with his teacher, Miss Wormwood.
You know where this is going.
Here is one conclusion page of the recently submitted Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, or SANCA, business plan. SANCA is the entity charged with operating Nathan Benderson Park, aka the rowing center.
Answering this series of questions is what a business plan is supposed to do. Take a close look at that last question. So far the Sarasota County Commission has bonded the Charter limit (roughly 20 million) – the amount the County can borrow for any one project without putting it to referendum. The State of Florida has kicked in 10 million – in the form of two 5 million dollar grants. The amount SANCA still requires for the rowing center? 22 million (you’ll definitely need to click on this one). Twenty-two million dollars must appear in the year 2015.
Unfortunately, aside from a fundraising job description, there is precious little information on how SANCA plans to raise another 22 million. The plan call for hiring a “high energy fundraiser” and tapping individual, corporate and foundation giving. You have to wonder what has kept SANCA from previously tapping individual, corporate and foundation giving. The project began in 2008. Does SANCA intend to keep coming after public dollars? Where is the “private” in this public-private “partnership”?
Back to Calvin. Definitely worth clicking to read.
Calvin’s only six. He has time to recover. Thankfully Miss Wormwood is doing her job, rejecting lousy work. His teacher isn’t seduced by the “professional” plastic cover.
Unlike Miss Wormwood, the Sarasota County Commission accepts style over substance, empty promises over firm commitments. When SANCA was formed, the organization promised to raise millions to fund the rowing facility. Today the park is almost entirely funded by the public, with nominal private contribution. When another Calvin, Cal Ripken, and the Orioles came to town, they promised (under oath) to fundraise “immediately” and build a Cal Ripken Youth Academy. Five years later, we all know those promises were rubbish.
The year 2015 is sandwiched neatly between election years. Have the keepers of the public coffers already been lobbied? Have commitments for public millions for SANCA in 2015 been lined up?
Time will tell.
The documents are stamped “draft”, but are the County-accepted plans for the 55 million dollar park.