From the Desk of the
City Manager
February 14, 2014
Jay Leno - 2714
Arts and entertainment followers throughout the country were interested in what Jay Leno would do immediately after retiring as host of 'The Tonight Show'.  Well, he was right here in Sarasota making us laugh with a stand-up comedy routine at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall as part of the 13th Annual Van Wezel Foundation Gala.  He was given a warm Sarasota welcome with City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell presenting him with the Key to the City.  And, no celebration is complete without cake.  This one, created by Slice of Heaven, was a triple-layer yellow cake with strawberry filling.  (I'm told it weighed just over 100 pounds...and tasted 'really, really good'.)  Congratulations to the Hall's Executive Director, Mary Bensel, and our many employees, volunteers, sponsors and Monica Van Buskirk of the Van Wezel Foundation, who worked tirelessly to ensure this was a successful, fun-filled night.  The gala proceeds, tallying approximately $200,000, will be utilized to fund the Foundation's ongoing youth arts education efforts and future capital improvements at the Van Wezel.


  • Regular City Commission
    Tues., February 18 - 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

    City Commission Chambers

  • Development Review Committee
    Tues., February 18 - 3 p.m.
    SRQ Media Studio - City Hall Annex

  • Downtown CRA Extension Study Committee
    Wed., February 19 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 109

This Week's Items to Know:
  1. Arlington Pool Renovations  On Monday, the main competition swimming pool at the Arlington Park Aquatic Center, 2650 Waldemere Street, closed temporarily for the next six months while the mechanical equipment is completely rebuilt and a cool deck is added.  The City Arlington Pool Commission approved a $1.1 million contract for the work during its last meeting, with funding being appropriated from the penny sales tax.  We understand this temporary closure will be an inconvenience for our residents who enjoy this amenity.  But, after an estimated 30 years of use, the pumps, filters and heaters, which are integral parts of the aquatic center, must be replaced and that requires the facility to be closed.  Arlington Park highlights an ongoing interlocal agreement between the City and Sarasota County.  Please note:  Although smaller, Lido Pool is open and available Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. for swimmers who enjoy their exercise while taking in a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico.  Arlington Park pass holders are aware that we'll make the necessary arrangements to accommodate them at Lido.   
  1. President's Day Workforce   While administrative offices will be closed this coming Monday (Feb. 17) in observance of President's Day, garbage and recycling will be collected as usual.  Approximately 11 percent of our full time and part time employees will work Monday, providing vital services to the community including drinking and wastewater treatment, solid waste collection, public safety, as well as entertainment at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and recreational activities at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex and Bobby Jones Golf Club.  Running our wonderful city is a 24-7 operation and we appreciate these employees and their dedication to ensure our services continue no matter what the date is on the calendar.  (By the way, our Public Works Department will have the most employees on duty Monday with 44.) 
  1. By the Numbers: Sarasota Farmers Market   It's no secret that the Farmers Market is a popular attraction drawing residents and visitors downtown each weekend.  An attendance count, conducted February 1, by Phyllis and Roger Barry of Barry Consulting, showed some interesting results.  Despite what started as a foggy, overcast morning, an estimated 12,424 people attended the Market Farmers Market between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.  That's a significant amount of foot traffic -- the equivalent of 23 percent of our year round resident population -- all descending upon downtown to shop at the Market.  This kind of destination event not only bolsters the vibrancy downtown, it helps sustain our downtown's economic viability.  As people purchase locally grown organic food, flowers, crafts and other goods at the Market, they end up patronizing our many storefront businesses and restaurants, creating a unique synergy for downtown.  One other interesting fact from the count:  most visitors entered the Market from First Street/Lemon Avenue or Main Street.  Congratulations to all involved with this featured attraction which has become a part of the fabric of our community.  
Sgt. Mark Opitz
Sgt. Mark Opitz
volunteering to build a house. 
  1. SPD Helps Build Home  
    Building relationships and partnerships helps create a strong community.  And, our police officers are dedicated to strengthening our community, even on their own time.  Ten of our officers volunteered their time last weekend to help build a home for retired U.S. Army Sgt. Tia McCants, who was wounded by an IED while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  She also is a single mom.  Tia's future home, which is expected to be finished in the spring, is the very first Veteran's Build for Habitat for Humanity in Sarasota.  A big 'thank you' goes out to our law enforcement officers and their volunteer efforts to help build an even better Sarasota. 
Upcoming Events

Moonlight Movie:  'Dirty Dancing'  
  Payne Park
Fri., February 14
6:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.

Sarasota Festival of the Arts
Main Street and Selby Five Points 
Sat. and Sun., February 15 and 16
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Mini Tour Weekend
Bobby Jones Golf Club
Sat. and Sun., February 15 and 16
All Day -  Details

Bicycle Rodeo
The Sarasota YMCA
Sat., February 15
9 a.m. - Noon - Flyer

DSA Winter Concert Series
Selby Five Points Park
Thurs., February 20
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- Details 

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel:

Lewis Black
Van Wezel Interior
Sat., February 15 - 8 p.m.
Masters of Illusion - Live!

Sun., February 16 - 7 p.m.
The Hit Men:  Former Stars of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons & Tommy James and the Shondells
Mon., February 17 - 8 p.m.
Buy Tickets

Stayin' Alive
Tues., February 18 - 8 p.m.
Buy Tickets

Man of La Mancha
Thurs., February 20 - 8 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Buy Tickets
This is a very busy time of year in Sarasota.  I hope you're able to carve out some time this weekend to enjoy our beautiful city.  Happy Valentine's Day!

From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
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