Bubil: A call for keeping the Payne Park auditorium


Last Sunday’s column on the City of Sarasota’s apparent desire to demolish the 1962 auditorium at Payne Park drew quite a reaction from readers who want to keep the venerable structure.

“Nice article. What you say is very true,” wrote one. “Any structure that appears old is demolished. As one drives around Sarasota, it is evident from the amount of empty lots that nothing exists from the past.

“Look at downtown, the people said they’d like it the way it is; apparently the so-called experts on council seem to know better. These people do nothing but waste money.

“As for the auditorium at Payne Park, and its demise, my opinion is someone is going to make a wad from this deal, and who is the most outspoken on the issue? Sarasota should stick with what they do best, build roundabouts and put in brick crosswalks.”

I also got a call from a lady named Pat who did not want her last name used. She said the building is quite serviceable.

“With all the rain we have been having, I have not seen one leak,” said Pat, who attends the Adult Singles Club of Sarasota’s Saturday night dances there. “And the floor is good and fine. There is no place like it for dancing.”

The city is not running a charity there, either. The singles club (couples may attend the dances, too) pays $700 per dance to the city in rent. Members of the club pay $8, non-members $10, and in the summer it is tough for the group to pay the band and supply the refreshments and still break even.

Nearly everyone who is commenting on this issue says one thing: “Don’t demolish the building. Promote it.”

To be specific

An astute reader of the Sept. 1 feature on a house designed by Bert Brosmith questioned my statement that Brosmith was educated by Paul Rudolph at the University of Pennsylvania.

A smart question. It is well-known that Rudolph was dean at Yale’s architecture school in the late 1950s and early ’60s, but in the early ’50s he was a partner with Ralph Twitchell and then started his own practice here.

But Brosmith told researcher Joyce Owens, an architect in Fort Myers, that he studied under Rudolph when the famed modernist was a visiting professor at Penn. Who knew?

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: September 7, 2013
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