From the Desk of the
City Manager
April 4, 2014
It was a "ruff" assignment as SPD Chief Bernadette DiPino served as the official starter for the Southeastern Guide Dogs walkathon at Payne Park last weekend.  This is the organization's largest fundraiser for the year with events in five cities.  All total, the walkathons raised $650,000 which will go toward training for guide dogs.  The Sarasota walkathon brought in over $110,000 with an estimated 800 people and 250 dogs participating.  If you spend time in downtown, you will see dogs in training, learning vital skills which eventually will help someone with their everyday life, such as walking along the sidewalk, stepping on and off curbs, and navigating busy areas.  We're proud they're part of our diverse downtown with a storefront business on Main Street near Orange Ave.  To learn more visit


  • City Commission
    Mon., April 7 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m. 
    City Hall - Commission Chambers  
  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., April 8 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 109
  • St. Armands Parking Feasibility Study Workshop
    Tues., April 8 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., April 8 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board  
    Wed., April 9 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Current Openings
magnifying glass and text  jobs . conceptual photo.
Engineering Technician II
Lifeguard I
Lifeguard II
Manager, Accreditation
Rec Attendant
Refuse Equipment Operator
School Crossing Guard
Summer Camp Counselor
Utility Mechanic I

This Week's Items to Know:
Wastewater Pipe Lining Project   The Utilities Department is nearing completion of a significant project to improve the reliability and sustainability of our utilities infrastructure.  Over the past year, nine miles of wastewater pipes on Lido Key and St. Armands Key were lined -- without digging up roads -- to stop groundwater infiltration.  Over time, cracks have developed in the sewer pipes allowing groundwater to seep in and add extra flow and stress to our wastewater system.  Using trenchless technology, a liner was inserted into the sewer mains, essentially creating a new polyester resin pipe inside the old clay pipe.  The lining, along with sealing manholes, will significantly reduce infiltration which in turn will reduce the stress on our wastewater treatment equipment and also reduce the risk for wastewater overflows.  This will add many years to the life of the sewer mains, most of which are 8-inches in diameter.

You may recall last September when it rained for several consecutive days.  During that time, the watewater treatment plant struggled to keep up with the high  flow, which primarily was due to significant
groundwater infiltration.  Completion of this lining project will help reduce that stress.

In the photos below, you can see a 'before' picture with groundwater seeping into the pipe, and an 'after' photo with the lining in place -- the infiltration is gone.  We also use close circuit television cameras to inspect the pipes.  Watch the accompanying YouTube video to see a sewer main before and after the lining was inserted.

When the City Commission approved this $2 million project several years ago, it was part of an aggressive capital improvement plan for our utilities system without incurring debt for our residents.  Providing water and wastewater treatment are key functions for any local government. Throughout the nation, though, many municipalities are struggling to fund repairs for aging utilities systems.  Fortunately, we're ahead of the curve with a robust maintenance and replacement plan.  While it might not be a sexy story, the wastewater lining project will have a lasting positive impact on our community, starting with fiscal savings.  We expect to see lower electric costs since less groundwater will be pumped and treated through the system.  This was a job well done by everyone involved, particularly our contractors SAK Construction, TV Diversified, and LMK Pipe Renewal.
Pipes Before After
Gravity sewer main before and after being lined.

New Tourism Numbers    We received more encouraging news this week regarding the tourism industry in Sarasota.  Visit Sarasota County announced that we saw an estimated 72,100 visitors throughout Sarasota County in February 2014.  That's a 7.8 percent increase over last year.  And, visitors spent more this year -- an impressive 12.3 percent increase in spending ($86.5 million direct expenditures total) compared to 2013.  Hotel occupancy was at its highest in recorded history in Sarasota County at 91.5 percent.  VSC attributes the positive impact to an improving economy and effective new marketing campaigns that were rolled out two years ago.  This is great news all around.  Kudos to VSC and VSC President Virginia Haley for their dedication and continual promotion of the outstanding attractions throughout our community. 
Sarasota Film Festival Opening Night    We're proud to host opening night of the 16th annual Sarasota Film Festival tonight at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  Last Days In Vietnam, a documentary SFF Logo chronicling the final days in Saigon as told by Americans overseeing the evacuation, will be screened.  The film begins at 7 p.m. with a red carpet at 6 p.m.  For the next nine days and nights, 252 films covering the spectrum of genres will be screened at the Regal Hollywood 20 Theater on Main Street.  We're looking forward to another fun and successful film festival.  For a screening schedule and to purchase tickets visit  Congratulations to the SFF Board of Directors, President Mark Famiglio, Director Tom Hall, and the SFF staff for their hard work to present this engaging program. 
Gillespie Park Playground  The new Gillespie Park playground is now open!  The finishing touches were added earlier this week and right after final inspection yesterday, children began playing on the new equipment.  This is a welcome renovation to the northwest part of the park, where the old playground was 20 years old and scheduled for replacement.  The new play areas will challenge children to improve their eye hand coordination and dexterity.
Gillespie Park Playground Opening 4-3-14
9-year-old Alyssa Martinez with her 3-year-old brother J.D. Louis enjoying the new playground last night. 
Embracing Our Differences  The 11th annual Embracing Our Differences exhibit is now on display at Bayfront Park, adjacent to Marina Jack.  Stroll through the park and you will see 39 billboard-sized images, each 
Embracing Our Differences 2014
The Embracing Our Differences exhibit will be on display at Bayfront Park through June 1. 
offering an interpretation of the theme 'enriching lives through diversity'.  Local, national and international students and artists created the images.  Over 6,000 submissions were received this year from 44 states and 52 countries.  This is a testament that the program, which encourages respect, diversity and individuality, continues to be popular.  The inspiring, entertaining and creative exhibit will be in the park through June 1.  Stop by and spend some time reflecting on why it's important to embrace our differences, and appreciate the creativity and sensitivity of the artists.     
Lose Big...Win Bigger    There was a lot of excitement at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex Wednesday night as the "Lose Big...Win Bigger" fitness challenge wrapped up.  Over the last eight weeks, 64 participants focused on losing body fat through increased exercise and healthier diets.  In total, they dropped 212 pounds.  Each person received a two month full access pass to RLTCC including three complimentary fitness classes each week, plus classes on healthy lifestyles.  If increased fitness wasn't incentive enough for the participants, our primary sponsor, h.h. gregg, donated a 55-inch TV, iPad Air and blue ray DVD player to the top winners, who were determined based on the percentage of body fat lost. 

Congratulations to:

(1)  Pamela Allen - 14.31%
(2)  Angela Jones - 8.81%
(3)  Kelli Ruiz - 7.34%
(4)  Liz Trejo - 6.58%

We'd like to give a special thank you to h.h. gregg and B.J.'s for their generous support.  We hope all the participants remain committed to their new lifestyles and continue being a positive, healthy influence with their family, friends and neighbors.
Pamela Allen - Winner
"Lose Big...Win Bigger" winner Pamela Allen with the grand prize:  an  iPad Air. 
Upcoming Events

Sarasota Film Festival
Fri., April 4 - Sun., April 13
Screenings:  Regal Hollywood 20 Theater (1993 Main Street)
Film & Events Schedule
Outdoor Living & Garden Show    
Sat. and Sun., April 5 & 6
Selby Five Points Park - 5 p.m.

Walk to Defeat ALS 
Sat., April 5
Payne Park
9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

All-American Day Concert
Sun., April 6
Ed Smith Stadium
Noon - 6 p.m.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel:

American Idiot
Mon., April 7 - 8 p.m.
Million Dollar Quartet

Tues. & Wed., April 8 & 9:
8 p.m.
Thanks for reading this week's updates!  If you'd like to receive Weekly Briefs directly to your inbox just send us an email at 

From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
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