From the Desk of the
City Manager
August 8, 2014
Parasailing on Sarasota Bay has become a popular recreational activity for visitors to Sarasota.  We spotted these two adventuresome souls as they started floating over the water adjacent to the Saprito Fishing Pier and Ringling Bridge.  With regards to tourism, we received more good news recently from our friends at Visit Sarasota County.  For the month of June, visitors grew by 5.6 percent from last year.  And, spending is up significantly -- growing by 13.1 percent over June 2013.  This translated into direct visitor spending reaching $57.6 million in June throughout Sarasota County.  With our beautiful beaches and cultural amenities, Sarasota certainly continues to be a popular place for a relaxing getaway. 


  • Lift Station 87 Project Team Meeting 
    Mon., August 11 - 10 a.m.

    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio   
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., August 12 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., August 13 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

Current Openings
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Box Office Operator
Building Inspector Multi License
Computer Systems Administrator
Director, Information Technology
Maintenance Mechanic I

Click here to see employment opportunities 

U.S. 41 Water Main Break

Utilities crews and the SPD were very busy this past weekend handling a significant water main break on U.S. 41. on Saturday.  While police officers diverted north and southbound traffic on U.S. 41 at Highland Street (adjacent to the Yummy House), Utilities crews isolated the broken pipe quickly.  A sizeable portion of U.S. 41 collapsed due to the tremendous water pressure gushing under the road.  Using a series of valves, water service was maintained to nearby residences and businesses.  Ultimately, crews excavated a trench two road lanes wide and replaced a 19 foot long section of pipe.  The emergency repair work, including patching the road, was completed in just ten hours while coordinating with the Florida Department of Transportation and meeting that agency's road repair requirements.  The combination of emergency weekend work and meeting FDOT asphalt specifications will make this a costly repair job.

Water Main Break
The water main break created a significant hole on U.S. 41. 

Although we don't know exactly what caused the line to rupture, we do know it is an AC pipe, installed around 1960, making it approximately 54 years old.  Florida cities expect to get at least 50 years of service from water lines before they're considered for replacement.

Water Main Break
The broken water main was approximately 54 years old.

The City's water distribution system is comprised of 325 miles of pipe, and between one-third and one-half of the system is at least 50 years old.  Over the past several years, the Utilities Department has been diligently executing an ambitious capital improvement plan to line or replace pipes to ensure water service continues without interruptions.  The water main break over the weekend highlights the need to continue to maintain our aging  infrastructure. 
Water Main Break
Crews replacing a 19 foot section of pipe. 

This Week's Items to Know:
Annual Street Resurfacing      The City's annual street resurfacing project, this year budgeted at $1.9 million, is now underway with crews milling and paving pre-determined streets citywide.  Approximately nine miles of streets throughout the city limits will be milled and paved, including residential and primary roads.  This week, crews with the City's contractor, Superior Asphalt, were slated to pave Hillview Street, Hashay Drive, Illehaw Drive, Sioux Drive and Hawthorne Street. 

To see a map with a tentative list of streets scheduled for resurfacing click here.
Crews repaving Hillview St. west of Osprey Ave. earlier this week. 
The  repaving schedule is coordinated with other Public Works and Utilities projects occurring in the City, so the timetable can be fluid.  Once milling and paving dates are confirmed, crews post signage in the area to alert motorists and residents prior to the work starting.  We don't anticipate closing any roads, but there will be temporary
YouTube Video:  Street Resurfacing 
YouTube Video: Street Resurfacing
lane closures. 

This is the kind of infrastructure investment which is very noticeable, helps maintain property values and also speaks to the quality of life in a community.  Thanks to Capital Improvement Projects Manager Mike DelRossi for juggling the schedules and ensuring our streets are in good condition via this annual resurfacing project.  

Avondale Sewer Project - Finished     The Avondale utility line improvement project was completed last week and the large bypass pipe that was bisecting Alta Vista Street has been removed.  During the two week project, crews inspected and lined .28 miles of underground sanitary sewage pipe.  The lining is essentially a new pipe within the pipe, which prevents groundwater infiltration and the deterioration of the interior of the pipe.  The before and after photos really highlight why this 52-year-old pipe needed to be lined.  Before, the interior of the pipe was corroded and peeling apart, impeding the sewage flow, making the sanitary sewer system less efficient.  After the project, as you can see below, the same portion of pipe looks brand new.

The City has over 200 miles of sanitary sewer lines to maintain.  Industry practices indicate that using cured in place pipe, as utilized on this project in the Avondale neighborhood, is the best and most cost effective way to maintain an aging utility system.
Sewer Pipe
Photos showing before and after the pipe was lined.

New Water Tank - Update    Construction of the new $1.6 million water storage tank near 12th St. and Orange Ave. is nearing completion.  The tank is built and the exterior will be painted very soon.  Two million gallons of raw water from the Verna well field will be held in the tank before it is treated and placed into the City's water
Project manager Verne Hall standing inside the tank inspecting the float which will measure the amount of water in the tank. 
distribution system.  (Two million gallons is roughly 25 percent of one day's water needs throughout the city.)  New pumps, which will transport water from the tank to the City's reverse osmosis water treatment facility, have been installed outside the dome.

The inside of the tank is minimalistic with just an access ladder, overflow pipe and a float which will measure the amount of water in the tank.  Once the tank is filled with water, then chlorinated, and sampled by the Health Department, there will be a coordinated effort to bring the new tank on line while taking the old tank out of service.  That's expected to occur in early September.  Thanks to the Utilities Department and project manager Verne Hall for keeping this project on schedule and ensuring the City's daily water storage needs are met.

Sarasota Bay Observation Decks    The old wood platforms which formed the observation decks on Sarasota Bay adjacent to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall have been removed and are being replaced with concrete beams.  All four observation decks were over
Crews moving a concrete beam into position. 
20 years old and deteriorating from their continuous exposure to the salty side of Mother Nature.  With the new decks being constructed with concrete, they're expected to endure the elements even better and have a longer life span.  The project is expected to wrap up soon with the new decks open to the public in early to mid-September.  These are wonderful locations to enjoy a scenic view of Sarasota Bay, and we appreciate everyone's patience during the renovation process.

12th St. & Lockwood Ridge - Drainage Improvements    The drainage improvements at the southeast corner of 12th Street and Lockwood Ridge Road are ahead of schedule (something we always like to hear).  You'll notice a new curb and gutter have been installed to help direct rainwater toward an already existing bioswale along Lockwood Ridge.  Also, 100 feet of sidewalk in the vicinity of the drainage work was rebuilt.  The finishing touches will be put on the project over the next week, including repaving the south half of 12th St. and the east half of Lockwood Ridge.  With these modifications, we expect to see a significant reduction of flooding in the area.
Workers installing a new curb and gutter to improve drainage.
FL Surveying and Mapping Society -    Congratulations to Bob Heggan in the Public Works Department who recently was elected president of a local chapter of the Florida Surveying and Mapping Society.  Bob is a third generation surveyor and has over 30 years of
   Bob Heggan is an engineering technician in the Public Works Department.  
professional experience in the private and public sectors.  Currently, he is an engineering technician who supervises small capital improvement projects, primarily dealing with drainage, including the improvements underway at 12th St. and Lockwood Ridge.  The FSMS is a professional organization geared toward providing support and continuing education opportunities for its members.  Surveying and mapping is an ever changing field with technology nowadays and Bob's dedication with this organization is a win-win for the City and his peers.   

National Night Out - Gillespie Park      The Gillespie Park Neighborhood Association's National Night Out event, in conjunction with the Sarasota Police Department, enjoyed a nice turnout earlier this week.  The police substation at Gillespie Park was open and
National Night Out
A chocolate and yellow cake with
a public safety theme was served. 
Chief DiPino and Mayor Shaw were on hand to greet residents and talk about neighborhood issues over light snacks and even a slice of cake.  McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog and Andro, SPD's newest K-9, made appearances and, as you can imagine, both were a hit with the kids.  Informal neighborhood gatherings like this highlight the SPD's partnership policing philosophy, encouraging residents and officers to get to know each other.

A special thanks goes to Officer Cherie McKeon and Gillespie Park Neighborhood President Linda Holland for coordinating the event.  Also, thanks to Park East President Joseph Bessard II for taking time to show his community support.  If you missed this event, consider attending our big citywide National Night Out block party, which is tentatively scheduled for October 7th at Payne Park.  In the safe!
National Night Out
Those who attended the Gillespie Park National Night Out event were all smiles. 

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel:

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

For more upcoming performances visit
Thanks for reading this week's updates.  As you can see, city government spends a lot of time and effort, and your tax dollars and fees, maintaining the essential infrastructure in our amazing city. 

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From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
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