From the Desk of the
City Manager
August 29, 2014
The band soulRcoaster rocked the lawn of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall last week 
during Friday Fest playing a wide variety of popular cover songs.  They sounded so good many people couldn't resist dancing -- even in the toasty Sarasota humidity.  During the summer months, the Van Wezel hosts a free outdoor concert series on Sarasota Bay.  The live music is always upbeat, the food tasty, and the sunset view unparalleled.  The final Friday Fest of the summer will be held September 26th with country singer Adrian Ray taking the stage.  Join the fun!  For more details click here


  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., September 2 - 9 .m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • City Commission
    Tues., September 2 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., September 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
Current Openings
magnifying glass and text  jobs . conceptual photo.
Director, Information Technology
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Rec Attendant
Supervisor, Public Works, Roads & Bridges    

Homeless Update
After just 2.5 months, the reintroduction of the City's Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), led by mental health street case worker Calvin Collins, is resulting in some very positive outcomes with homeless individuals either being placed into housing or reunited with their family.  Through the assistance of the HOT team, in collaboration with Jewish Family & Children's Services, The Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, 54 people are no longer living on the streets of Sarasota -- and the majority of those are military veterans.

Here are the numbers:  35 veterans and 8 non-veterans have been successfully placed into housing since June; and 11 individuals have been reunited with family.

Reunification is a critical component of our community effort to address homelessness.  For many of us, it's human nature to want to help a relative who has fallen on tough times -- for whatever reason -- and is living on the street.  The Salvation Army and Resurrection House have Homeward Bound programs whereby they purchase a transportation ticket for a homeless individual to be reunited with a relative, once the pending reunion and family involvement is confirmed.  Recent destinations have included Arkansas, Washington, Ohio and St. Petersburg.  We're pleased the community is working together  to help reunite homeless individuals with their families.  We're told, though, that Homeward Bound transportation funding is lacking.  If you're interested in learning more about these worthwhile reunification programs and possibly making a financial contribution to help continue the good work please contact:

The Salvation Army - Maj. Ethan Frizzell - 941-954-4673 ext. 202
Resurrection House - Bill Watson - 941-365-3759

Chances for success increase greatly the more contact the HOT team has with a person.  Currently, the HOT team has met with 212 homeless individuals.  The team is now on its fourth round, meeting with the same people, educating them about veteran's benefits and housing opportunities, and encouraging them to reunite with their family.  We have much more work to do, but helping 54 individuals get off the street and into housing in less than three months is an encouraging start. 

This Week's Items to Know:
Labor Day - Hours & Garbage Collection  As we head into the Labor Day weekend, we'd like to remind everyone that City of Sarasota administrative offices will be closed next Mon., September 1 for the holiday.  Garbage, recycling and yard waste will be collected as usual.
Garbage Containers
Garbage, recycling and yard waste will be collected as usual on Labor Day. 
A couple of other Labor Day holiday operational notes:
  • The Robert L. Taylor Community Complex will be open 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.  The swimming pool will be closed.
  • The Children's Fountain will be open regular hours 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., weather permitting.  The following day (Tues., September 2) fall hours of operation will begin and the fountain will close two hours earlier, at 5 p.m., until the end of October when it will close for the winter. 
Hart's Landing Update    The City has contracted with a structural engineer to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the Hart's Landing Bait Shop.  The facility, which is owned by the City of Sarasota and
Hart's Landing was constructed in 1960. 
maintained by Sarasota County, was unexpectedly closed by the City's Building Official three weeks ago due to public safety concerns with the structural integrity of the building and the adjoining boat dock.

A limited condition survey, which was requested by the City prior to the closure, showed that four piles do not provide any support and the structure is sagging dangerously.  We expect it will take several weeks for the engineer to fully inspect the area in question and provide building stabilization options and recommendations.  Once the report is received, staff will review it and make determinations on how to move forward, including consideration of temporary facilities if repairs are delayed.
One of several piles deemed unsafe. 
Hart's Landing is a popular dock and bait concession stand and we are doing everything we can to expedite the process.  Public safety, though, must remain our top priority. 

Although the closure was sudden, the City worked closely with the concessionaire to allow him access to the facility so he could drain bait tanks and reduce the heavy weight on the structure.  We understand he has temporarily moved this business to the bait shop at New Pass where he is the concessionaire there.  We'll keep you posted.
One of the deteriorated piles at Hart's Landing.
WBTT - 15th Anniversary Sneak Peek    The acclaimed Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is celebrating 15 years of amazing arts and entertainment in the Sarasota community with a dynamic high octane show at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Monday, October 6.  We're proud to be partnering with WBTT for what is expected to be a fun, festive evening with a performance of "Eve of Jackie".

"Eve of Jackie" features award winning Broadway performer Chester Gregory as he sings and dances his way through a flashback to Jackie Wilson's final performance in 1975 before he collapsed on stage.  Back up vocals will be provided on stage by the talented members of the WBTT.  Check out this promotional video:
"Eve of Jackie" starring Chester Gregory.

This is the first time the WBTT has offered a performance to such a large audience.  The Van Wezel, owned and operated by the City of Sarasota, is a perfect venue.  With just over 1,700 seats available at the Van Wezel, half the tickets for the event already are sold without any formal advertising yet.  Let's make it a sold out show and a night to remember for WBTT's 15th anniversary.  For ticket information click here.

Ticket sales will benefit the incredible mentoring efforts at the WBTT for African-American youth and adults in the Sarasota community.   WBTT truly has become a source of community pride with amazing talent being drawn directly from Newtown and the surrounding area.  It's just one of two black theatre troupes in the Sunshine State.  And, for many young African-Americans, WBTT signifies hope and an open door, which they have witnessed, can lead to greater aspirations and achievements on the national and international stage.  To learn more visit

A big thank you goes to WBTT CEO Christine Jennings and Artistic Director/Founder Nate Jacobs for their dedication to the troupe over the years and for approaching the Van Wezel about this exciting anniversary show.  And, kudos to Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel for facilitating it.  Hope to see you there!
The WBTT was founded in 1999 with the mission to produce shows which develop African-American performers and celebrate the African-American experience.

Deep Injection Well - Update   The $3.9 million deep injection well project, which ultimately will significantly reduce the amount of treated water and wastewater discharged into Sarasota Bay, is on schedule and on budget.  Over the summer, a lot of progress was made.  90 percent of the new pipeline connecting the water treatment plant, wastewater treatment plant and deep injection well, was installed.  The line extends for 2,000 feet and winds underground at the City's Utilities campus on 12th Street.
Crews tying in two lines to a new 24-inch pipe which runs to the deep injection well across the street along N. Osprey Ave.  
Recently, crews tied in two lines (one from the water treatment plant and one from the wastewater treatment plant) to a new 24-inch pipe which runs to the deep injection well along N. Osprey Avenue.  That pipe was jack and bored under 12th Street this summer without impacting traffic.

Two pre-fabricated electrical controls buildings are scheduled to arrive next week and will be installed.  This is a very complex construction project which requires a detailed sequence of activities
A new pipe, partially above ground, connects the reclaimed water distribution system to the new deep injection well line. 
to be successfully completed while maintaining regular operations at the water and wastewater treatment plants.  But, once up and running, the deep injection well, located 1,500-1,800 feet below the aquifer, will be able to safely receive up to 18 million gallons of treated water and effluent daily.

Thanks to project manager Steve Topovski for overseeing this complex construction project which, when operational, will greatly improve our environment and the water quality of Sarasota Bay, making bay life slightly more desirable for our dolphin friends.

CIPP - National Recognition for Locating Service Laterals    The City of Sarasota recently received national recognition in a utilities and public works online publication for an employee's creative way to locate sewer service laterals.  A service lateral essentially is the opening inside a sewer line which connects the line to a home.  Because laterals are located within the sewer pipe, when cured in place pipe (CIPP) technology is used and a new liner is created within the pipe, the laterals are temporarily covered with the new liner.  Typically, the liner creates an easily identifiable 'dimple' where the lateral is located, and the polyester resin material is cut out, allowing regular service to resume to the house.

Recently, we provided updates about the Avondale CIPP project in Weekly Briefs.  Turns out, the new lining in the 30-inch pipe in the Avondale neighborhood is so thick the lateral 'dimples' weren't readily visible.  Staff expected it would take the contractor a significant amount of time to locate and cut them out, potentially inconveniencing residents for an even longer period of time.

Then, our Utilities employee Alex Hernandez had a brainstorm.
A thermography image indicates the location of a residential sewer lateral.
  Because CIPP technology is heat based and requires the lining material to be cured at 150-180 degrees, Alex postulated that the temperature where the laterals were located would be cooler.  He was right.

Using a City owned thermography gun, the contractor sent two workers into the pipe, with one scanning the pipe surface looking for temperature differences and the other carving out the lateral openings.  Not only did the idea work well, it significantly reduced the amount of time to locate the laterals and allowed residential sewer service to resume as normal that much faster.

CIPP greatly reduces groundwater infiltration and extends the life of a sewer pipe by a guaranteed 50 extra years.  Not every project will require the use of a thermography gun, but it's great to hear public sector success stories like this one, with staff using creative thinking, innovation and problem solving out in the field.  And, the public works/utilities industry is already taking note of this creative time saver with the American Society for Trenchless Technology publishing an online article about it.  Congratulations, Alex and the Utilities Department!
Alex Hernandez (R) with Avondale CIPP project manager Carlos Marin.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

Friday Fest - Adrian Ray
Fri., Sept. 26 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert

For more performances visit

September 1st marks my two year anniversary as your City Manager in our colorful, vibrant, exciting, something-for-everyone city.  As we look forward to autumn, I want to thank all who have welcomed me and allowed me to work with them toward an even brighter future for this truly special place.

Thanks for reading this week's updates.  If you'd like to receive Weekly Briefs directly to your inbox click 'Join Our Mailing List' below or send us an email at

From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager

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