From the Desk of the
City Manager
July 11, 2014
Jewel Foundation
The significant increase in construction activity in downtown continues to provide fascinating visuals.  It's not every day you see a scene like this in downtown:  crews working underground to remove the old and construct the new foundation of a soon-to-be 18 story building.  This is the construction site of The Jewel, at Main St. and Gulfstream Ave.   The structure is projected to be finished by Fall 2015 with condominiums and retail on the ground floor.


  • Lift Station 87 Project Team Meeting 
    Mon., July 14 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Board of Adjustment     
    Fri., July 18 - 1:30 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers   

Current Openings
magnifying glass and text  jobs . conceptual photo.
Administration Specialist III
Records Technician  
Sr. Transcriber 

This Week's Items to Know:
New Mary Dean Park Playground  The new playground at Mary Dean Park on Central Avenue is open for business, much to the delight of families in the neighborhood.  The play equipment is colorful and sturdy, and challenges children to be imaginative while climbing, jumping and twirling.  We caught up with 5-year-old Jerimiah Preston-Crawford who was all smiles as he happily tested every piece of new equipment in the park.  The playground is considered to be top of the line in the industry, and was made possible with a Community Development Block Grant.  Recently, new playgrounds were installed at Orange Avenue Park and Gillespie Park.  Up next:  the playground at Bayfront Park will be repaired and reopened, hopefully, within the next several weeks. 
Jerimiah Preston-Crawford, 5, having fun on the new playground at Mary Dean Park. 
Orange Ave. Parking Lot Closed    Reminder:  The Orange Ave. Parking Lot is temporarily closed until the end of the month while
The Orange Ave. Lot will be temporarily
closed through July.

drainage improvements are made in the area.  The surface lot also will be restructured and repaved.  During this temporary inconvenience, drivers are encouraged to use available on-street parking as well as the nearby First Street Lot and the Second Street Garage (adjacent to Whole Foods).

New 6th St. Canal Pedestrian Bridge    The new pedestrian bridge over the 6th Street canal is finished and looks great.  Located between the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the former GWIZ building, the bridge includes two viewing areas.  With the reopening of this new bridge, walkability and connectivity are restored between one of the largest hotels in Sarasota, the Hyatt, and the Van Wezel.  Hotel guests can enjoy a short stroll over the bridge, through a unique ecosystem, on their way to a cultural arts performance at the Van Wezel.  The old bridge was made from wood and was worn out from two decades of use and weather exposure.  The new bridge is constructed with a wood alternative to extend the years of usage.
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The new 6th Street Canal pedestrian bridge. 
Observation Decks Replaced    Around the corner from the 6th St. Canal Pedestrian Bridge and behind the Van Wezel, there are four observation decks on Sarasota Bay which also are undergoing a facelift.  Similar
Crews preparing to replace one of the observation decks on Sarasota Bay.
to the old bridge, the decks are made of wood and need to be replaced after many years of good use by the community.  The decks will be temporarily closed for the next 4-6 weeks while crews remove the wood planks and replace the deck surfaces with concrete, which is expected to have a long life span adjacent to the Sarasota Bay elements.

Van Wezel - #1 Performing Arts Hall   For the third consecutive year, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been ranked the #1 performing arts hall in the nation in the 2,000 seat category in Venues Today, a popular trade magazine.  This signifies that theater
Van Wezel seats
The Van Wezel is ranked the #1 performing arts hall in the U.S. in the 2,000 seat category.  
goers enjoy the atmosphere and variety of high quality cultural arts shows hosted at the Van Wezel.  This ranking is significant because it helps the Van Wezel staff book the best shows and performers on the road.

Just during the current 2014 season, Jay Leno performed the night after he retired from the Tonight Show, John Legend entertained us with a memorable concert and one of the hottest tickets in town, American Idol, will be at the Hall next week.

Congratulations to Executive Director Mary Bensel, her dedicated staff, the 300 volunteers who usher the shows, and the Van Wezel Foundation -- all continue to amaze us with their ability to sustain excellence year after year.  Currently, the Van Wezel staff is busy preparing the 2014-15 season, and we're looking forward to the full announcement of star-studded shows in early September.

Municipal Auditorium - Vintage & Collectibles Fair   We're trying something new at the Municipal Auditorium this year -- a Christmas in July shopping event!  The all new Vintage & Collectibles Fair will be held Sat., July 19 and Sun., July 20 with a festive Christmas in July theme.  Over 40 exhibitors will be on hand selling antiques, books, collectibles, artwork, vintage clothing, glassware, outdoor decor, jewelry and more.

Admission is $3 per adult and is good for the entire weekend.  Children 12 and under are free.

At least once a year, the City is the sole sponsor of an affordable event at the Auditorium which is open to the public.  Collectibles and vintage items remain popular, and based on attendance at previous shows, our staff thought this would be a well received event.

Vintage & Collectibles Fair hours:
Sat., July 19:    10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., July 20:   10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The Municipal Auditorium is located at 801 N. Tamiami Trail.  A tip of the hat to Debbie Perez, the Municipal Auditorium Manager, and her staff for working diligently to come up with creative ideas for this uniquely Sarasota space.  We hope the Vintage & Collectibles Fair is a huge success!
Municipal Auditorium
Blue + You = Movie Night    The SPD will host another free community movie night in a couple of weeks.  Mark your calendar Friday, July 25 at 8:30 p.m.  The film 'Iron Man 3' will be shown on the exterior wall of the SPD Headquarters, 2099 Adams Lane.  It should be another fun evening!  The SPD's first movie night, in April, attracted many families who spread out on blankets and enjoyed a free evening of entertainment under the stars.

Courtney Mendez - Florida PZA President   Congratulations to Senior Planner Courtney Mendez who recently was sworn in as President of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.  With 500
Courntey Mendez
Courtney Mendez being sworn in as President of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.
members statewide, the organization focuses on continuing education opportunities for urban planners and other land use professionals dedicated to sound planning and zoning practices within the Sunshine State.  Prior to being elected President, Courtney served as President-elect, Vice President of Membership Services, and Vice President of Financial Affairs.  She also served as President for the local Gulfcoast Chapter.  During her one year term, her duties will include helping to organize the 2015 state conference, which will be held in neighboring Bradenton.  This statewide recognition and professional achievement is another example of the distinguished, high caliber staff we have working at the City of Sarasota.  Kudos, Madam President!

Southeastern Guide Dogs - T-shirt Design Contest    Southeastern Guide Dogs, one of our neighbors in downtown Sarasota, is searching for an artist with a knack for t-shirt design to create its 2015 Walkathon t-shirt.  The winning design will be worn by thousands of participants, volunteers, and staff members in seven cities, including Sarasota, next winter and spring.  The design also will be featured on signs, banners, Tervis tumblers and more.  Artists of all experience levels are invited to submit original designs in a digital format.  The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the Southeastern Guide Dogs online gift shop.  The deadline for submissions is Thursday, July 31, 2014.  For details and submission guidelines, visit
Southeastern Guidedogs
The Sarasota Walkathon was held in Payne Park last spring. 

Upcoming Events

Boots vs. Badges Kickoff
Benefiting Suncoast Blood Bank
Southgate Mall
3501 S. Tamiami Trail
Sat., July 12
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
ABC 7 PSA:  Boots vs. Badges
ABC 7 PSA: Boots vs. Badges

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

American Idol Live!
Thurs., July 17 - 8 p.m.
Friday Fest - Come Back Alice
Fri., July 25 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert


Friday Fest - SoulRcoaster
Fri., August 22 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert
Friday Fest - Adrian Ray
Fri., Sept. 26 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert
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From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
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