From the Desk of the Sarasota
City Manager
February 13, 2015
John Ringling Causeway Park has new features and a new name. Approved by the City Commission in December, Eloise Werlin Park is receiving major upgrades.  A sign with the new name was installed at the base of the east side of the Ringling Bridge this week.   Meanwhile, as we mentioned in a recent edition of Weekly Briefs, construction is underway for a new children's playground between Hart's Landing and Saprito Pier.  Thanks again to resident and philanthropist Doc Werlin for his generous donation for the playground in memory of his late wife Eloise.  The upgraded park will be dedicated Fri., February 27 at 11 a.m.


  • State Street Parking Garage Public Information
    Tues., February 17 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112 
  • Bayfront 20:20
    Tues., February 17 - 9:30 a.m.
    Bayfront Community Center - 803 N. Tamiami Trail
  • City Commission
    Tues., February 17 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., February 18 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Independent Police Advisory Panel Workshop
    Thurs., February 19 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Human Relations Board
    Thurs., February 19 - 2 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
Lobby Attendant
Parking Enforcement Specialist
Parking Garage Attendant (Part Time)
Parking Garage Attendant (Full Time) 
Police Officer, 2nd Class 
School Crossing Guard 
       Utilities Engineer (Contract)   


Serious Crime Down -  Lowest in 20 Years

One of the most significant barometers for the vitality of a community is public safety.  Residents, business owners and visitors must be safe in their neighborhoods, parks, and streets.  Our top priority at City Hall is the health, safety and welfare of our entire city, 24/7/365.

We have focused our public safety efforts over the past two years, since SPD Chief Bernadette DiPino was hired, to build trust and strong sustainable relationships between our residents and police officers. We've heard anecdotally from residents that our partnership policing efforts are taking root and making a difference in their lives and neighborhoods. 

Each year, SPD is required to submit local crime statistics to the FBI in the form of a Uniform Crime Report (UCR).  After a thorough review of the past 20 years of SPD UCRs, we are comfortable to state that we continue to experience a significant downward trend in serious crime.
Since 1995, Part I crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft) are down by almost 54 percent.  Just between 2013-14, the incident rate dropped 8.6 percent.  That is a remarkable reversal which has translated into a safer, more livable city.  To see the statistics click here.
While the uptick in the economy may be playing a role in recent decreased crime throughout the city, we believe these statistics primarily are moving in the right direction because the community's commitment to partnership policing is paying off.  Both residents and SPD officers are making a concerted effort to develop trusting relationships. We congratulate and applaud their efforts and achievements as we continue to strengthen public safety partnerships and improve communications. 

And, remember, if you see a suspicious circumstance please call 911 -- "If you see something, say something".

This Week's Items to Know:
Presidents Day - Mon., Feb. 16    Next Monday, February 16, City Hall administrative offices will be closed in observance of Presidents Day.  Garbage, recycling and yard waste will be collected as usual.

For those interested in recreation on the holiday, Robert L. Taylor Community Complex and Bobby Jones Golf Club will be open to the public with regular business hours.

By the way, the Regular City Commission meeting scheduled for that day will be held the following day on Tuesday, February 17.
Air Potato Roundup    We successfully rounded up a lot of air potatoes last weekend at North Water Tower Park in conjunction with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.   An energetic group of 120 volunteers, including residents, businesses, college students, and City staff members, rolled up their sleeves and picked, pulled, and plucked these unwanted invasive plants which are overtaking our neighborhood park. I can attest it was a good workout!  Over three hours, we collected an impressive 1,009 pounds of potatoes. (One potato alone weighed 1.5 pounds.)

Awards were bestowed for the biggest, smallest, and weirdest shaped air potato, as well as most collected.  Top honors went to JDubs Brewery which gathered 201 pounds with just five people on their team.  Impressive work!

We appreciate the volunteerism and positive community spirit generated by this second park cleanup event.  And, this is just the beginning!  Over the next three years, the City will work with the SBEP and Sarasota County to use $1.3 million in federal, state and local grants for invasive species removal and water quality improvements at the park, which will engage neighbors and further activate the park.    
Over 100 people volunteered their time last Saturday to remove
invasive plants from North Water Tower Park. 
Bobby Jones Open -  This Weekend    Over 110 professional golfers on the West Florida Golf Tour will take part in the 2nd annual Bobby Jones Open this weekend at our municipal golf course.  With a larger cash purse and more participants, the event is gaining momentum. 

The 2-day tournament will help celebrate the 89th anniversary of Bobby Jones Golf Club.  And, spectators are welcome -- admission is just $10 per person. 

As part of the tournament play on Saturday, a Longest Drive Challenge will be held on hole #14 of the British Course.  The player with the longest drive will be awarded $500.  Thanks to Red Hook Long Hammer IPA for sponsoring this event which will be great for spectators.

WSRQ talk radio (106.9 FM and 1220 AM) will broadcast live from the golf course tomorrow (2/14) with the tournament featured on Nate Ditchfield's golf show "Tee It Up" from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.  We greatly appreciate this media coverage.  Local media exposure like this is important for our historic golf course as we continue to market the facility to current and new players of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels.

Bobby Jones Golf Club is located at 1000 Circus Blvd.  For more information visit or call 941-954-4163.

Good luck to the players and our staff this weekend.  Here's to a terrific tournament!
WSRQ's radio program "Tee It Up" will broadcast live from the
Bobby Jones Open on Sat., Feb. 14. 
Flower Baskets - Your Input Wanted    The Downtown Improvement District continues to explore the idea of installing flower baskets in downtown. 

A "Downtown in Bloom" trial period started last week with three different basket styles being placed on light poles near the intersection of Main St. and Palm Ave.  Now, the DID is asking for your feedback.

The three options under consideration are:

#1:  Arm Extension - Mounted on an arm and attached to a light pole at least seven feet above the sidewalk.
#2:  Low Wrap Around - Wrapped around a light pole two feet above the sidewalk.
#3:  High Wrap Around - Wrapped around a light pole at least seven  feet above the sidewalk.

You're invited to vote for your favorite option by sending an email to the DID Operations Manager, John Moran -  

The flower basket trial and the votes collected will be discussed at the DID's next meeting on March 3.

RLTCC Pass Special - BOGO Ends Feb. 15   You still have a couple of days to sign up for a new adult fitness or full pass at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex and get one month free.  Also, current pass holders can get a free month for a referral.  (This special does not include family or youth passes.)

Adult passes start at just $10 a month -- without a contract. 

For more information contact the RLTCC front desk:  941-954-4182 or visit
Since opening in Summer 2011 the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex has become a popular workout facility for a diverse cross section of people. 
Bayfront Community Center:  101 & Still Dancing   Every Thursday morning, the City hosts a ballroom dancing event with live music at the Bayfront Community Center.  It's a popular social activity for many senior citizens in the Sarasota area including, believe it or not, one spry centenarian.

Albert Barrette celebrated his 101st birthday last week at the Bayfront Community Center with the many good friends he has met there and, of course, a little dancing.  For the past ten years, he and his companion, Yvette Mineau (who will be 92 in April), have looked forward to the weekly event where they take to the dance floor to  waltz, foxtrot, even,occasionally, do the cha cha -- all to the melodious sounds of the Mellotones.   As you can imagine, at the tender age of 101, Albert is slowing down.  But, the weekly dance continues to be a fun activity for him and Yvette.  They say the other dancers are like close family members, plus the activity offers healthy exercise and nice social stimulation.
Albert Barrette, 101, with his companion Yvette Mineau, 91, at the Senior Ballroom Dancing event last week at the Bayfront Community Center. 
When the City assumed responsibility for maintenance and operation of the Bayfront Community Center in 2011, staff understood the importance of continuing to offer a weekly program like this and ensured it remained in place. We're delighted Albert and Yvette are regular participants.

Happy 101st birthday, Albert -- keep dancin'!

Upcoming Events
Downtown Festival of the Arts 
Main Street
Sat. and Sun., Feb. 14 & 15
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Orchid Ball
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
  Sat., Feb. 14:  6 p.m. - Midnight

SRQ Dance
Bayfront Community Center
Sun., Feb. 15
10 a.m. - Noon 

Bee Gee's Tribute Concert    
Municipal Auditorium
Wed., Feb. 16 
7 p.m. 

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

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 will be at the Van Wezel on Feb. 15.

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.
Paul Anka
Mon., March 2 - 8 p.m.
Russian National Ballet:  Gala Program
Tues., March 3 - 8 p.m.
Jekyll & Hyde
Thurs., March 5 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Jersey Boys will be at the
Van Wezel March 11-15.
Three Dog Night
Mon., March 9 - 8 p.m.
Jersey Boys
Wed., March 11 - 8 p.m.
Thurs., March 12 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Fri., March 13 - 8 p.m.
Sat., March 14 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sun., March 15 - 1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Anything Goes
Mon., March 16 - 8 p.m.

The Manhattan Transfer
Wed., March 18 - 8 p.m.
Itzhak Perlman
Sat., March 21 - 8 p.m.
Audra McDonald
Sun., March 22 - 7 p.m.
Cesar Milan LIVE! will be at the
Van Wezel on March 26.

Jackie Evancho

Tues., March 24 - 7:30 p.m.
Cesar Milan LIVE!
Thurs., March 26 - 8 p.m.
Sarah McLachlan
Fri., March 27 - 8 p.m.
For more information visit

As we head into Valentine's Day weekend, remember your sweetheart!

Weekly Briefs will be on hiatus next week.  We'll be back on Feb. 27.

Thanks for reading this week's edition.  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