Striking A Chord

Baker Park’s star sponsors share why they put their dollars to work for ‘The People’s Park’

Baker Park1by Kelly Merritt

Only one month remains until “Prelude to a Park” benefiting Baker Park. Billed as a ‘Magical Evening under the Stars and the Glow of a Full Moon’, the gala event will take place Saturday, March 7 with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Once again, Baker Park will serve as the location along Riverside Circle. Attendees will be introduced to the new Baker Park and Honorary Chairs, Patty and Jay Baker, see an updated master plan of the park, participate in a live auction and engage in some smooth moves under the stars to the music of Joe Marino and All the King’s Men. Naturally, the evening wouldn’t be complete without fireworks and the promise of two special surprises to be revealed that evening.

Baker Park GazeboThe gala, which raised millions in its first year, is sponsored by The Friends of Baker Park, Inc. and The Ronto Group. The success of the park thus far and continued support of such diverse organizations calls to mind an interesting realization.

When it comes to donations, there are so many organizations to choose from here in Naples. In what seems like a short time Baker Park has received so much support, from $5 donations to millions – and already we can see it becoming a reality. Baker Park is something we will be able to touch, smell, and integrate into our lives, part of a lifestyle and opportunity for good stewardship. Case in point: a Life in Naples survey revealed 392 responses out of 400 were in favor of the park design.

It can take years for a project to glean this kind of support. We asked some Baker Park sponsors why they made such generous financial commitments to help lay the foundation for The People’s Park.

Baker Park Building“Baker Park is a legacy park, and we call it the ‘people’s park’ because the people of Naples designed it, gave their time, talents and financial support to provide a park for all the people,” says Friends of Baker Park and Gala Chair Delores Sorey. “This project has galvanized our community more than any project in a long time, so when individuals and businesses are approached to get involved or donate funds, they say yes because they know this project is an investment in our community.”

Mrs. Sorey says she and Naples Mayor Sorey will be eternally grateful for the support of so many people in the community who believe as they do, that Baker Park will be a legacy for generations to come.

At the gala, only a limited number of unique items will be presented for auction including Boyajian’s ‘Greenway Emerald Necklace’ with Colombian emeralds, green diamonds, rare green tsavorite tourmalines and gem white diamonds in 18 karat gold.

The auction sponsors include Bigham Jewelers, Inc., Preferred Travel of Naples, Avenue 5 and Truluck’s.

Baker Park sponsors include design sponsor MHK Architecture & Planning– Matthew H. Kragh, AIA, NCARB, principal sponsor The Ronto Group, gold sponsor FineMark National Bank & Trust, William Boyajian’s Port Royal Jewelers, silver sponsor Beacon Real Estate Partners, Coleman, Yovanovich & Koester, Nancy and Jack Hurst, silver sponsors Nancy and Tom Cusick, Premier Property Management, The Law Offices of Sam J. Saad, III and Lutgert Insurance. Media sponsors include Life in Naples Magazine and Naples Daily News. In-kind sponsors include Five Star Valet, Grace Lakes Florist, Naples Print Source, T-Shirt Express, Taylor Rental Inc. and Wynn’s Market & Catering.

For information or an invitation to The Gala, contact Baker Park Gala Chair Delores Sorey at or 239.263.2673. For general Baker Park information, visit


Baker Park is the perfect complement to
Naples Square and furthers the expansion,
connectivity and walkability of Old Naples.
We are so excited to have Naples Square
right in the middle of it all.”
–Anthony Solomon, Executive Vice President and Co-owner of The Ronto Group, Inc., Principal Sponsor
“Baker Park is certainly going to be MHK’s
legacy project. The natural open spaces
and key features will combine to become a
landmark for the City of Naples. Providing
the public with access to the Gordon River is
the primary vision for the park.”
–Matthew Kragh, AIA, NCARB, MHK Architecture & Planning, Design Sponsor

“I support the Baker Park and my hope is
that our city can develop a true appreciation
for the natural beauty that I grew up with
in here in Naples. I really desire for future
generations to see Naples as a green space
that can be admired and be a shining
example for other cities.”
–William Boyajian, Port Royal Jewelers, Gold Sponsor

“Part of the culture of FineMark National
Bank and Trust is to serve our community
in which we have the distinct pleasure of
doing business. We believe that Baker Park
will be a great addition to the fabric of
Naples and we chose this as a way to make
a long standing positive influence on our
Adria Starkey, President, FineMark National Bank & Trust, Gold Sponsor

“Baker Park will enhance and enrich the
lives of Naples’ citizens for generations to
come. We are very proud to be a sponsor.”
–Nancy and Jack Hurst, Silver Sponsor
“I support the park for many reasons. As a
resident, real estate broker and developer
in the city of Naples I feel the park is an
amenity that adds value to the area. I am
glad to see it is being developed to the same
level as the rest of the city. Also, and most
importantly, as a father of an 18 month old
I can’t wait to spend time with him at the
park for years to come.”
–Joe Belz, Managing Director of Beacon Real Estate Partners

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