From the Desk of the Sarasota
City Manager
February 6, 2015
Construction cranes have returned in earnest to Sarasota.  With two erected this week at The Vue construction site at the corner of U.S. 41 and John Ringling Causeway, four construction sites now feature cranes high over downtown.  When finished in 2016, The Vue will be the site of a Westin hotel as well as a 141 unit residential community.  It's safe to say our city has not experienced this kind of building boom for many years.  And, it continues to show that our special city remains desirable for investors and those who want to live and visit here.  This trend is stimulating fresh, new conversations on how an increasing permanent and seasonal population will move about and what options should begin to be considered and implemented.


  • Lift Station 87 Project Team Meeting
    Mon., February 9 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Community Workshop
    Mon., February 9 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., February 9 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., February 10 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 109
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., February 10 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Special City Commission
    Tues., February 10 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., February 11 - 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.

IT - Manager, Professional Business Services
Lifeguard I 
Plans Examiner 
Police Officer, 2nd Class 
Rec Attendant 
School Crossing Guard 
   Treatment Plant Operator A 
  Treatment Plant Operator B
     Utilities Engineer (Contract)   

This Week's Items to Know:
Tourism - Breaking Records    Over the past several months, since the mercury dropped and the snow started falling up north, many people have remarked that this is a very busy season.  Just from our own experiences of dining downtown, strolling the Bayfront, taking in a sunset on Lido Beach, and enjoying the cultural amenities in the community, many of us have noticed a significant increase in visitors this season.

This week, our friends at Visit Sarasota County confirmed that we're
A golden sunset on Lido Beach. 
seeing record breaking tourist numbers throughout the county.  Records were shattered in October, November and December.  That's particularly notable because the previous two years were record breaking.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, Sarasota County hosted 231,000 overnight visitors.  That's a 9.3 percent increase from the previous year.  And, spending is up as well -- by 12.5 percent.

After enduring several years of uncertain economic times with visitors scaling back their vacations and spending, this is indeed good news for our hospitality community.
Visitors at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. 
State Street Garage Update      Construction of the State Street Garage is progressing well. This week, the concrete deck for the fourth floor was poured.  There will be a lot of activity at the site in March including topping out the structure and beginning to install the building facade.  As the structure is going up, electricians already are pulling wire, which will save time on the back end of the physical construction.

Please note that starting in mid-March, there will be temporary lane closures on State Street while the facade is hung and a water line is relocated.  The contractor is coordinating with local businesses and the Farmers Market to reduce the inconvenience as much as possible.
Top:  The State Street Garage construction site this week.   
Bottom:  An artist's rendering of the project. 
We continue to host regular public meetings, so residents and business owners can receive firsthand updates on the project and have questions answered by staff and the contractor.  These meetings are now being held the first and third Monday of each month at 1 p.m. in Room 112 in City Hall.  (Due to the Presidents Day holiday, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 17.)  Everyone is welcome.

Old Bradenton Rd. - Milling/Paving Begins Monday    Crews will begin milling and paving Old Bradenton Rd. next week -- a positive indicator that the Old Bradenton Rd improvement project is nearing completion. 

The entire 1.5 mile stretch from University Parkway to Dr. MLK, Jr. Way will be milled and paved, and the contractor plans to do the work in three consecutive segments starting on Monday, Feb. 9th: 

* University Pkwy - 47th St.
* 47th St. - Myrtle St.
* Myrtle St. - Dr. MLK, Jr. Way
Milling and paving Old Bradenton Rd. is
scheduled to begin next week. 

The contractor plans to finish the entire corridor by the end of the week.

Milling the old asphalt will be the first step.  Then, the new pavement will be placed the next day.  Both travel lanes will be milled and paved before crews move south to start the next segment.

With Old Bradenton Rd. being a two lane road, the milling and paving will result in traffic slowdowns.  We encourage you to use a different route for the next week. 

This should be the last significant impact on traffic before the project concludes.  After the paving, isolated work will continue with minimal traffic disruptions.  We appreciate your continued patience with this project.

Music Half Marathon    The inaugural Sarasota Music Half Marathon is set to take place this Sunday from 6:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.  2,000 runners will take off from the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, make their way over the Ringling Bridge, around St. Armands Circle, back over the
Signs, including electronic message boards, are in place along the race route alerting drivers to lane and road closures. 
bridge, down Orange Ave. into the Cherokee Park neighborhood, through Selby Gardens and wrap up with a big finish back at the Van Wezel.

While temporary lane closures will be in effect,  drivers will be able to cross the bridge and drive around St. Armands Key.  Detour signs will be posted and police officers will be present to help facilitate traffic. 

Although the Orange Ave. portion of the race will be closed to all traffic, vehicles will be allowed to cross Orange Ave. when gaps appear between runners.  The heaviest time for runners on Orange Ave. is expected to be 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Police officers and race volunteers have been trained on how to safely allow cars to cross the street during the race. 

For more details on lane closures click here

We hope all the runners have a good, healthy experience with this inaugural event and we hope residents enjoy it as well.
Course map for the Sarasota Music Half Marathon. 
CIPP - Educating Students    A handful of engineering students from Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers took a field trip to Sarasota last week and visited one of our utility improvement sites to learn about the installation of cured in place pipe (CIPP) and actually see how it works. 

Utilities employees, Carlos Marin and Alex Hernandez, who facilitate the City's CIPP projects, explained to the students that CIPP is used extensively throughout the City and why it is beneficial. Not only are costs much lower with CIPP, the inconvenience to residents and motorists is significantly reduced by not having to cut into the road to replace the pipe.  With CIPP, the pipe is lined with a polyester resin which, essentially, creates a new pipe that is expected to last 50 years.
FGCU engineering students learning about cured in place pipe
at a project site on Bahia Vista. 

The students visited a site on Bahia Vista where 8,000 lineal feet of pipe was being lined.  They were amazed to hear from City staff that trenchless rehabilitation typically is one-third the cost of a traditional open cut project.  Using traditional open cut methods, the Bahia Vista project would have been an estimated $1.8 million with significant impact to traffic.   But, with CIPP, the dollar figure was reduced to $610,000 with minimal traffic disruptions.

The City's contractor, LMK Pipe Renewal, based in Ft. Lauderdale, invented a clever method to completely seal the sewer lateral connections at the sewer main as well as at the section leading to the home, which helps extend the life of the pipe even more.  So, the students, who all happen to have a Sarasota tie, were especially fortunate to learn from the best with the contractor and our City staff.  Thanks to our Utilities team for taking the time to help educate our engineers of tomorrow!  

Upcoming Events
First Fridays in the Park 
Selby Five Points Park
Fri., February 6
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Stamp Show & Sales
   Municipal Auditorium     
Fri., Feb. 6 & Sat. Feb. 7:  10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.    
Sun., Feb. 8:  10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Free Admission

CCNA - Candidate Forum 
Payne Park Auditorium
Sat., February 7
9 a.m. 

Air Potato Roundup   
N. Water Tower Park
Sat., February 7 
9 a.m. - Noon

Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day 
Fredd Atkins Park
Sat., February 7
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Lido Tides Arts & Crafts 
Lido Beach Pavilion
Sat., February 7
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Sarasota Music Half Marathon 
City Streets/Ringling Bridge
Sun., February 8
6:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Course Map
Traffic Details 


Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
Fri., February 6 - 8 p.m.

The Piano Guys
The Piano Guys will perform
Feb. 7th at the Van Wezel.

Sat., February 7 - 8 p.m.

The Time Jumpers
Sun., February 8 - 7 p.m.

The Duke Ellington Orchestra
Mon., February 9 - 8 p.m.

Harry Connick, Jr.
Tues., February 10 - 8 p.m.

Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Orchestra
Wed., February 11 - 8 p.m. 

Peter and the Starcatcher
Thurs., February 12 - 8 p.m.
Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Orchestra will perform Feb. 11th.


Diana Ross
Fri., February 13 - 8 p.m.

"The Sinatra Centennial" Starring Michael Feinstein
Sat., February 14 - 8 p.m. 

The Piano Men starring Jim Witter
Sun., February 15 - 8 p.m.

Dancing Pros Live!
Mon., February 16 - 8 p.m.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Tues., February 17 - 7:30 p.m. 

Discover DaVinci and Michelangelo "Side by Side"
Wed., February 18 - 8 p.m.

Garrison Keillor
Thurs., February 19 - 8 p.m.

Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band
Tues., February 24 - 8 p.m.


For more information visit

Lots of activities are going on this weekend!  Tomorrow morning, there's a choice between two community events taking place at the same time.  For those who would like a workout, while helping to improve the city, there's the Air Potato Roundup at N. Water Tower Park at 9 a.m. ....or for those who would like to learn more about the City Commission candidates, CCNA will host a candidate forum, also at 9 a.m., at the Payne Park Auditorium.

In the meantime, the boys of summer are preparing to return to Sarasota for Spring Training baseball.  The practice facilities at Ed Smith Stadium await the Baltimore Orioles, as contributing photographer Norm Schimmel shows us in this week's 'Sarasota Scene'.

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

Tom Barwin
City Manager