From the Desk of the
City Manager
October 31, 2014
Our City's skyline is changing almost every day now.  From high atop the Ringling Bridge, you can see two construction tower cranes hovering over the city -- a sight we haven't seen here in several years.  One tower is at The Jewel construction site, and the other is at 1 Palm Avenue, where a 138-room Aloft Hotel and 139 apartments are under construction.  And, next week, a third tower crane will be erected in downtown.  That one will help construct the State Street Garage.  (See below for more details.)  These cranes continue to serve as visual indicators that our local economy has turned the corner.


  • City Commission
    Mon., November 3 - 2:30p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District (Special Meeting)
    Tues., November 4 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex- SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., November 5 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • ManaSota League of Cities
    Thurs., November 6 - 9:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Administrative Specialist I
Building Inspector Multi License
Computer Support Specialist - SPD
Maintenance Tech I - Roads & Bridges
Maintenance Technician I - SPD
Utilities Engineer
Utilities Engineer (Contract)

This Week's Items to Know:
Ringling Bridge Lights      Your drive, walk or run over the Ringling Bridge should be brighter in the evening now that all the street lights are once again functioning properly.  As part of an environmentally friendly and energy cost savings move, the lights along the bridge and Saprito Fishing Pier were converted in 2012 to LED lights, which was new technology at the time.  Unfortunately, the light fixtures did not live up to reliability expectations, leaving the bridge and pier dark in places.

Over the course of two nights last week, all the lights (116 fixtures on 74 poles) were replaced at no cost to the City with a different LED light and fixture.  To minimize the impact to traffic, the replacement work was done late at night.

The new fixtures, called a LeoTech Green Cobra, are flatter, more compact and use less energy.  Each light draws 43 watts and is the equivalent replacement for a 100 watt light.  The fixtures also are under warranty for ten years.

Our electrical team worked closely with the lighting contractor to find a solution and we are optimistic these new LED light fixtures will perform up to expectations.
All the light fixtures along the Ringling Bridge and Saprito Pier 
were replaced at night at no cost to the City. 
State St. Garage Update:  Tower Crane Going Up    A construction tower crane will be erected on the State Street Garage site next week, which temporarily will impact traffic for a few days.  Due to the compact footprint of the construction site, the crane will be delivered and unloaded on the south side of State Street just east of Lemon Avenue.  While intermittent lane closures will be necessary starting Monday afternoon on November 3 and throughout the day on Nov. 4 and 5, the contractor has been directed to keep State Street open 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. to minimize traffic impacts during lunch.  The tower crane is necessary for vertical construction of the five parking levels, so this is a significant milestone with the project.  For those who like to watch construction projects, you can watch a live feed of the site 24/7 -- just click here
Intermittent lane closures will occur on the south side of State Street Nov. 3 - 5.

Cafe in the Park - Open for Business!  We waited patiently for it and now it's a reality:  a cafe is open for business at Payne Park!
Cafe in the Park is owned and operated by Simone Steiff-Pollux, a long time City of Sarasota resident.  She says she first eyeballed the
Cafe in the Park is open every day
11 a.m. - 7 p.m. in Payne Park. 
City owned space, adjacent to the Skate Park, when Payne Park opened in 2007.  She really got excited about the location and possibilities for a cafe when the circus playground opened two years ago, and its popularity was evident almost immediately.  So, Simone responded to the City's Request for Proposal to lease the space as a restaurant.  But, enough about the government side of things.  Let's talk about the good stuff  -- the menu!

Pressed sandwiches (think Cuban, sourdough grilled cheese and more), salads, and baguettes are offered as well as a variety of coffee and, of course, ice cream.  Food is prepared fresh on site and, whenever possible, organic and locally sourced ingredients are used.

Cafe in the Park is open every day 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Park Park, 2010 Adams Lane.  Indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the park is available.  The cafe can be reached at:  941-361-3032.

With ever increasing activity in Payne Park, this is a welcome addition.  Hope to see you there soon! 
Cafe in the Park is adjacent to the circus playground and offers outdoor seating.

New Bobby Jones Concessionaire - Mattison's    While on the topic of food and cafes, a new concessionaire is operating the restaurant at our historic 45-hole Bobby Jones Golf Club, and it's a familiar name to Sarasotans.  Chef Paul Mattison, owner of Mattison's City Grille in downtown, is now running Mattison's Grille on the Green.  Bringing in a
BJGC - Mattison's
Mattison's Grille on the Green is now operating the restaurant
at Bobby Jones Golf Club. 
restaurateur like Paul, who has a glowing reputation in Sarasota for providing a quality dining experience, is great news for Bobby Jones.

Mattison's Grille on the Green is open daily 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., offering breakfast and lunch, with an eye on expediency to help fuel golfers and get them back on the greens.  We expect Mattison's will operate the restaurant at least through April.

Mattison's Grille on the Green is open to the public and you're invited to stop by and check out the menu and management -- even if you're not golfing.  Good luck, Paul and staff!

Men's City Better Ball Championship    Mattison's assumed management of the restaurant at Bobby Jones just days before the Men's City Better Ball Championship last weekend.  It was a busy weekend!

104 golfers participated in the men's tournament this year and we're pleased to report returning players informed staff this was the best tournament in years.  Not only did they say the course was in great condition, but they were excited about the quality of the new driving range balls and even the shirts provided for participating in the tournament.

It's not easy to pull together a large tournament like this and I appreciate staff's attention to detail to make it even more enjoyable for golfers this year.

By the way, Phil Walters and Tim Judy comprised the winning team with an overall score of 132.  Bravo!  To see all the final scores click here.  Thanks to everyone who played and helped make this another successful event at our historic municipal golf course, Bobby Jones.

CEO Program     An event was held last week to celebrate the ongoing work of the Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO) program -- and to introduce people to the program.  For the past nine years, the City's Newtown Redevelopment Office has partnered with area investors, including Comerica Bank, SunTrust, Sarasota County, SCORE, and CareerSource Suncoast, to offer an 11-week introduction to business course.

The program offers a combination of classroom training, one-on-one
Anthony Gagliano with CareerSource Suncoast discussing the CEO program. 
counseling and other resources to budding entrepreneurs. 168 individuals have graduated from the program over the years, and 20 percent of those graduates currently operate a part or full time business.

Opening your own business not only takes courage, funding, and a significant time commitment, but a well thought out business plan.  The CEO program provides guidance on those critical entry level business aspects at no cost.

Thanks to lead CEO sponsor Comerica Bank for hosting this event and continuing to support this program.  We look forward to this course resulting in even more entrepreneurs launching a business in Sarasota. 

For more information about the CEO program contact Dru Jones in the Newtown Redevelopment Office:  941-365-2200 ext. 3222.

Shop Local - Farmers Market Expands to Wed.  Starting next week, the Farmers Market will expand its presence downtown and offer a midweek market each Wednesday near Selby Five Points Park.  40-45 vendors, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and candles, will set up each Wednesday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. through April.  The booths will be located along the sidewalk and will not directly impact the park.

Many folks are excited about this midweek market, which will pump more energy into downtown and give visitors another reason to explore downtown Sarasota during the week.

Meanwhile, the traditional weekend Farmers Market will continue each Saturday 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.  The Farmers Market is a tremendous foot traffic generator and business incubator.  I wish Market Manager Phil Pagano and our loyal vendors the best of luck with their midweek venture. 
Farmers Market
Starting November 5, the Farmers Market will operate on
Wednesday at Five Points in downtown.

Good Luck, Nik!     We wish our hometown hero Nik Wallenda the best of luck as he takes on his latest daring high-wire challenge:  walking blindfolded on a tightrope between two skyscrapers in downtown Chicago.  The event will be televised live on the Discovery Channel this Sunday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. EST.  Nik's motto is 'Never give up!', and we know he won't.  Best wishes, Nik!
Nik Wallenda prepares to step onto Marina Tower in downtown Sarasota in January 2013 after walking on a high wire from the bayfront over U.S. 41. 

Upcoming Events
Gator Club Halloween Block Party  
Main St. & Lemon Ave.
Fri., October 31 
6 p.m. - Midnight

Vintage & Collectibles Fair  
Municipal Auditorium
Sat., November 1:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., November 2:  10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sarasota Bay Water Festival  
Ken Thompson Park
Sat., November 1
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

CMT Walk & Roll 
Bird Key & Ringling Bridge Sidewalks
Sat., November 1
10 a.m. - Noon

Ferraris on the Circle   
St. Armands Circle Park 
Sat., November 1
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

   Tunes in the Park 
Laurel Park
Sat., November 1
5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

Capitol Steps
Sat., November 1 - 8 p.m.

Susan Boyle
Wed., November 5 - 8 p.m.

Phillip Phillips
Susan Boyle will perform Wed., November 5.

Wed., November 12 - 8 p.m.

Wanda Sykes
Sun., November 16 - 7 p.m.

Evil Dead:  The Musical
Tues., November 18 - 8 p.m.

Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis
Wed., November 19 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Thunder Symphony
Thurs., November 20 - 7:30 p.m.

So You Think You Can Dance
Fri., November 21 - 8 p.m. 
Dave Koz & Friends will take the stage Fri., November 28. 

Gloria Musicae:  In Thanksgiving  
Sun., November 23 - 4 p.m.

Melissa Etheridge:  This is M.E. 
Sun., November 23 - 7 p.m.

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2014 
Fri., November 28 - 8 p.m.

Kenny Rogers with Special Guest Linda Davis 
Sat., November 29 - 8 p.m.

: Single tickets for the full 2014-15 season are on sale!  For more information visit

Don't forget:  Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday, November 2 at 2 a.m.  So, set your clock back one hour. 

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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