From the Desk of the
City Manager
March 14, 2014
Michele Hile, a recreational disc golfer, hits a birdie on the course at Payne Park during the doubles competition of the Sunshine Shootout.  Sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association, more than 140 amateurs and professionals from across the state participated in last weekend's tournament at Payne Park and North Water Tower Park.  With the popularity of disc golf on the rise, our staff worked with local disc golfers last fall to install a nine hole course in Payne Park in hopes of creating more fun, free exercise opportunities in our beautiful downtown park.  This tournament definitely attracted many new people to the park!  Not only did the players enjoy the venue, but walkers and others using Payne Park had an opportunity to watch a sport that perhaps they've never seen before. It's quality of life improvements like this that make an ongoing positive difference in our community.


  • General Employees' Pension Board Annual Membership Meeting
    Mon., March 17 - Noon 
    City Hall - Commission Chambers   
  • Regular City Commission  
    Mon., March 17 - 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop 14-CW-04
    Tues., March 18 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Public Art Committee - Special Meeting
    Tues., March 18 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee 
    Wed., March 19 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Board of Rules and Appeals 
    Wed., March 19 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Code Compliance Hearings  
    Thurs., March 20 - 8 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112



Current Openings
magnifying glass and text  jobs . conceptual photo.
Lifeguard I
Rec Attendant
Utilities Engineer
Utility Mechanic I (Internal Promotional Opportunity
Treatment Plant Apprentice (Internal Promotional Opportunity) 

This Week's Items to Know:
Palm Ave. Garage Hosts TEDxManasotaLive    This is exciting news for downtown Sarasota!  The rooftop of the Palm Avenue Garage will be the venue for a live stream of TED 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tues., March 18 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.  The event will feature live stream talks from philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, peace activist Zak Ebrahim and musician Sting.  TED is a nonprofit organization that started in California in 1984.  At conferences, the world's leading thinkers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less.  The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Group collaborated with the local TEDx licensee group, TEDxManasota, along with our Downtown Economic Development coordinator Norm Gollub and Parking Manager Mark Lyons to bring this TEDx event to our downtown.   An oversized movie screen will be set up on the parking ramp and people are encouraged to bring their Palm Ave Garage own chairs for seating (no food or alcohol, please).  The TEDxManasotaLive event is free but limited to approximately 500 people.  We hope this unique outdoor TED live stream attracts many of our younger population to downtown.  Congratulations to all parties involved in bringing this signature event here.  To sign up and learn more about TEDxManaSota click here
Office Vacancy Rate Improves   We have new information that tends to support that our local economy is on the upswing:  There is less vacant office space downtown.  The vacancy rate declined approximately one percent this quarter to 11.7 percent.  That's just over a one percent decline from this time last year when it was 12.8 percent.  Comparatively speaking, we're doing better than downtown Bradenton (29.3 percent office space vacancy) and most areas, but not as well as Lakewood Ranch (7.8 percent), which features newer space.  Kimley-Horn and Associates, a local design consulting firm, soon will relocate its offices and 30 employees from unincorporated Sarasota County to the Sun Trust Building on Main Street.  The company plans to add more positions and ultimately have 40 employees downtown.  This is all good news as we continue to work together to build and present the best, most attractive downtown we can. 
Selby Five Points Park Lights  You may have seen crews in Selby Five Points Park this week working in and on the trees.  The Downtown Improvement District hired a company to dismantle the non-functioning color lights in the 26 oak trees throughout the park and to install decorative white lights in the 18 trees around the perimeter.  It is expected the new decorative lights will be turned on the evening of St. Patrick's Day (March 17).  It's known that aesthetic improvements, like trees adorned with decorative lights, attract  residents and visitors downtown, and help generate more activity.  Thank you to the DID Board Members, DID Operations Manager John Moran, the Downtown Sarasota Alliance and DSA President Ron Soto for seeing this project through and helping to make our downtown even more visually appealing!
Five Points Lights
Contractors work to remove the old tree lights and install new ones.
Popular Finance Report     For those interested, citizen understanding of the state of the City's finances is very important.  That's why our Finance Department is taking the unprecedented step of launching an abbreviated, easy-to-understand version of its award winning Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).  Known as the Popular Report, this 10 page document is a snapshot of our Popular Report financial position.  (Compare that to the CAFR, which is a very detailed 200 page document.)  On March 3, 2014, the City Commission approved this new Popular Report, which is now available on the City's website or just click here to view it.  Also, look for an announcement about the Popular Report in your utility bill this month.  Thanks to our forward thinking Finance staff for coming up with the idea for this citizen friendly report and helping to promote citizen engagement and government transparency. 
SPD:  Click It or Ticket Campaign   Since the start of the month, the Sarasota Police Department has been involved with the statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign.  In Florida, anyone in the front seat of a vehicle is required to wear a seat belt.  Along with enforcement, SPD is educating drivers about the importance of proper seat belt usage.  Officers hosted a safety event at the Hess gas station on Washington Blvd. at 6th Street this week,
SPD Public Service Announcement 
demonstrating the correct way to install child safety seats.  They also checked those seats already in place.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 10,300 people who died in vehicle crashes in 2012 were not wearing a seat belt.  This campaign by SPD is a good reminder to be safety conscious and always buckle up. 
Farmers Market Newsletter   After being on hiatus for awhile, the Downtown Farmers Market is resuming its monthly newsletter.  The Market has 70+ vendors and 5,000 square feet of produce and plants, so there's a lot to stay up on.  You can register for the newsletter on their website  Don't forget to stop by the Market tomorrow!  Regular hours are Saturday 7 a.m. - 1p.m.  
Lorna Alston:  Sarasota Woman of the Year   Congratulations go out to our General Manager of North Sarasota Redevelopment, Lorna Alston, who will be honored tomorrow (March 15) by Zeta Phi Beta sorority in Sarasota and Manatee Counties as the 2014 Sarasota Woman of the Year.  Since hired by the City almost five years ago, Lorna has worked tirelessly in North Sarasota, building partnerships in the community. Her efforts have resulted in unprecedented cooperation with contractors for local workforce hiring initiatives.  She also is committed to inclusive community interaction.  A humble person by nature, Lorna will tell you she is just one part of the North Sarasota community working to improve the area.  (In fact, she insisted that if we showed a photo of her, that the picture include the entire North Sarasota Redevelopment Office team.) Without Lorna's leadership and perseverance, many of the recent partnerships formulated in North Sarasota may not have occurred. We appreciate Lorna's dedication and congratulate Zeta Phi Beta for an excellent selection for Sarasota Woman of the Year. 
North Sarasota Redevelopment Office team (L to R):  Curtis Gillespie, Dennis Ford, Lorna Alston, Dru Jones, Rowena Elliott and Shavon Reed.  
Upcoming Events

Lido Beach Springfest   
  Lido Beach Pavilion
Sat. and Sun., March 15 and 16 - 5 p.m. 

Sarasota Spring Fine Art Show  
Gulf Stream Ave. 
Sat., March 15:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., March 16:  11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day on Hillview Street 
Hillview St. near Osprey Ave. 
Sat. March 15 
11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Gator Club St. Patrick's Day 
Lemon Ave. and Main St.
Sat. March 15
6 p.m. - 1:30 a.m.

Sarasota Half Marathon
U.S. 41/Ringling Bridge
Sun., March 16 
6:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.

St. Patrick's Day on Ringling Blvd. 
Ringling Blvd. and Lime Ave.
Mon., March 17
9 a.m. - Midnight

Free Tax Preparation
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex
Mon., March 17
3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Charles Marohn - Strong Towns 
"Place Making Principles"
City Hall - Commission Chambers
 Wed., March 19
9 a.m.- 11 a.m.

Free Movie - "Supersize Me"
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex
Thurs., March 20
6 p.m. 

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel:

Joan Rivers
Sat., March 15 - 8 p.m.
Bill Cosby

Sun., March 16  3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Mon., March 17 - 7 p.m.
Tues., March 18 - 7 p.m.  
Irish Tenors
Wed., March 19 - 8 p.m.
Buy Tickets

Vince Gill with special guest Amy Grant
Fri., March 21 - 8 p.m.
Buy Tickets
Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend!  Thanks for reading this week's updates. 

From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
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