From the Desk of the Sarasota
City Manager
January 9, 2015
With the New Year come New Year's resolutions.  A popular resolution for many of us is to live a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise.  And, the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, owned and operated by the City, is an affordable and well equipped facility for those seeking inspiration to stick to their new lifestyle.  We caught up with a cardio workout class this past Wednesday night led by Sarasota native and former NFL player Michael Hawthorne.  The class, called BlendZone, is for all ages and experience levels -- but without question, Michael challenges all participants and motivates them to reach their goals.  Michael is an exceptional fitness trainer and instructor, and we greatly appreciate his passion and commitment to fitness in  our community.  (By the way, he also is the son of recently retired SPD Officer Vivian Hawthorne.)  For more information about RLTCC, including membership rates, click here or call 941-954-4182.


  • Lift Station 87 - Project Team Meeting
    Mon., January 12- 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex
  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., January 12 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., January 14 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Deputy Police Chief
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic I
Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
School Crossing Guard
    Sr. Case Manager     


This Week's Items to Know:
Osprey Ave. Bridge Inspection    The Utilities Department is in the process of conducting an extensive inspection of the Osprey Bridge and Hudson Bayou before soliciting microtunneling bids to hire a new contractor for the Lift Station 87 project.  Earlier this week, several
Contractors conducting a geotechnical boring on the Osprey Ave. bridge earlier this week. 
geotechnical borings were performed on the bridge, requiring the road to be temporarily reduced to one lane.  Borings also will be conducted directly under the bridge.  Due to the boring equipment and barge, boat traffic may be temporarily restricted, but only during low tide.  Those borings are expected to be completed by January 12th.

The following week, beginning on January 19th, crews will install a temporary cofferdam in the bayou to allow crews to inspect the concrete bridge base below the waterline.  Prior to construction bidding, we are seeking visual confirmation of the depth of the bridge foundation.  To conduct this inspection, the usable waterway for boat traffic will be temporarily closed while crews work in the area.  The tidal flows will remain open, so manatees and other marine creatures that inhabit Hudson Bayou will be able to move freely through the channel.  The inspection is expected to take four weeks -- two weeks inspecting one abutment, and two weeks inspecting the other.

As of this writing, temporary road and lane closures on Osprey Ave. may be necessary through the latter part of February.  We will keep you posted.
Effective January 19th, a temporary cofferdam will be installed in the  
Hudson Bayou near the Osprey Ave. bridge. 
We understand this may be an inconvenience and we appreciate your patience as the City obtains the best information possible before taking the next step with the lift station project. 

Steve Topovski, the project manager, can answer specific questions about the bridge inspection:  941-365-2200 ext. 6221.

New Art Loan in Downtown    You may have noticed a new eye catching art piece in Selby Five Points Park.  Standing over 10 feet high, the aluminum sculpture, called "Inter Dimensional Species",
Artist Claudia Jane Klein with "Inter Dimensional Species" at Selby Five Points Park 
was installed just before Christmas.  It is on loan to the City from artist Claudia Jane Klein and will be part of the City's public art collection for at least the next year.  The Public Art Committee will have the option to renew the loan for up to five years.

Agreements like this help make Sarasota a special place and define us as a community which embraces the cultural arts.  We appreciate the Public Art Committee members, staff and the artist working together to make another remarkable art piece available for public enjoyment at any time.

The City has an extensive public art collection.  To see the inventory list click here.

Housing:  Applications Accepted for Waiting List    The application process for the Sarasota Housing Authority Section 8 waiting list is now open until Monday, January 19.  Very low income families interested in applying for the Housing Choice Voucher Program must apply online via the SHA website:   SHA will use a lottery to randomly select 750 applicants to be placed on the waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Those unable to apply online may request a paper application in writing which will be mailed.  Completed applications must be returned by mail and postmarked no later than January 19th. 

For more information contact SHA:  941-202-4032.

SPD Citizens Academy - Applications Accepted     The Sarasota Police Department is accepting applications for its 4th Citizens Academy which is scheduled to start February 24th.  Through a combination of class lectures and hands-on activity, participants will learn about the inner workings of the SPD including the philosophy of partnership policing, firearms safety, criminalistics, traffic patrols, K-9 unit and much more.  There's a lot to learn about SPD!  So, the academy is held for 13 weeks, with classes scheduled on Tuesday nights 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.  The academy is an excellent chance to immerse yourself in our policing program and discover what it takes (from personnel to resources to commitment) to keep our community safe.

If you're interested in registering for the academy, you can submit an application online.  Just click here to get started.

For more information, contact Officer Danny Robbins:  941-954-0756.
SPD Citizens Academy students learn about criminalistics and crime scene investigation by studying  a "crime scene" staged for the class.  
Bobby Jones Golf Club - New Year's Giveaway   For those resolved to improve their golf game in 2015, consider heading to the
Spend $25 on select brands and you can enter to win an Adams Tight Lies Fairway Wood.
Bobby Jones Golf Club!  Our historic municipal golf course, designed by legendary architect Donald Ross, offers a total of 45 holes for golfers of every experience level.  Right now, Bobby Jones is offering a chance to win a brand new Adams Tight Lies Fairway Wood, when you spend $25 or more on any Adams, Ashworth, TaylorMade or Adidas product in the Bobby Jones golf shop.  The giveaway ends January 31st.  Visit the golf shop for details. 

To book a tee time and to learn more about Bobby Jones visit

Happy Birthday, Van Wezel!     Already, the New Year is bringing plenty of fun and celebration to the 1,700 seat Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall!  Believe it or not, on Monday, our award winning Hall turned 45 years old.  It was on January 5, 1970 that the doors opened with a performance of 'Fiddler on the Roof'.  Decades later, momentum at the Van Wezel is stronger than ever, attracting Broadway shows, renowned Grammy award winning musicians and celebrity performers.  Led by Executive Director Mary Bensel, the Van Wezel staff continues to assemble just the right mix of shows, attracting sellout crowds season after season.  City owned and operated, the Van Wezel is a crown jewel in our cultural arts community and we look forward to many more anniversaries.

The Van Wezel's official 45th birthday celebration will be held
Mayor Willie Shaw presenting the Key to the City to Vanessa Williams last week. 
February 24th when the Van Wezel Foundation will host a festive dinner celebration before Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band take the stage. (This will be the first time a Beatle has performed at the Van Wezel.)

In the meantime, the Hall remains very busy with a sellout performance of 'Menopause the Musical' earlier this week and an incredible performance by singer Vanessa Williams last week.  After the show, Mayor Willie Shaw presented the Key to the City to Ms. Williams, an honor indicating that she is always welcome in our community. 

Be sure to scroll down the newsletter and check out the upcoming shows at the Van Wezel.

General Election - Candidates     The qualifying period for candidates for the City Commission general election in March ended today at noon.  A total of seven people qualified for the election for District 1, District 2 and District 3. 

Click on each name below for more information about the candidate including qualifying documents.

District 1

Willie Charles Shaw

District 2

Liz Alpert
David Morgan
Eileen Normile


Shelli Freeland Eddie
Matt Wooddall
Stan Zimmerman

According to the City of Sarasota Charter, when only one person qualifies as a candidate for a district, the name of the person will not appear on the ballot -- and the person will be declared elected.  So,  Mayor Willie Shaw is considered re-elected in District 1.  Congratulations, Mayor Shaw, on your re-election!

The general election for District 2 and District 3 will be held Tues., March 10.

More information can be found on the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk webpage or just click here.

Upcoming Events
Gem & Jewelry Show & Sale    
Municipal Auditorium
Fri., Jan. 9 - Sun., Jan. 11 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thunder by the Bay 
Main St. & Gulfstream Ave. 
Sat., Jan. 10:  11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 11:  11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Circus Ring of Fame Ceremony
St. Armands Circle Park 
Sun., Jan. 11 
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.


Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

Bill Engvall
Fri., January 9 - 8 p.m.
Foreigner will be at the Van Wezel on Jan. 12th.


Mon., January 12 - 8 p.m.

The Bronx Wanderers
Sun., January 18 - 7 p.m.

David Feherty
Tues., January 20 - 8 p.m.

Michael Bolton
Wed., January 21 - 8 p.m.

ABBA the Concert
Thurs., January 22 - 8 p.m. 

Kathleen Madigan   
Fri., January 23 - 8 p.m.

Elvis Lives! 
Sat., January 24, - 8 p.m.

An Evening with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons  
Tues., January 27 - 8 p.m.

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.  
Ballroom with a Twist will be at the
Van Wezel on Jan. 29th.
Wed., January 28 - 8 p.m.

Ballroom with a Twist
Thurs., January 29 -  8 p.m.

 For more information visit

Reminder:  Thunder By The Bay is going on now through Sunday in downtown.  There will be lots to see and do in Sarasota this weekend!

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

The duck stops Payne Park.

Tom Barwin
City Manager