From the Desk of the Sarasota
City Manager
February 27, 2015
Ernest "Doc" Werlin, the City Commissioners, and I were all smiles this morning at the grand opening of the Eloise Werlin Park playground.  We're excited to have an additional play area along Sarasota Bay where children can climb, run, jump and exert their energy.  Plenty of new shade structures with benches are there too where adults can sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  Thanks again to Doc Werlin for his generous contribution through the Gulf Coast Community Foundation which made the playground a reality.  It's  adjacent to the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier and Hart's Landing, which we expect will reopen within the next few weeks. 


  • State St. Garage Public Information Mtg
    Mon., March 2 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • City Commission
    Mon., March 2 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., March 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., March 4 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • ManaSota League of Cities - Special Meeting
    Thurs., March 5 - 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.
Coordinator, Facilities Projects
Lifeguard I
Police Officer, 2nd Class 
Rec Attendant
School Crossing Guard
Treatment Plant Operator C
 Utilities Engineer (Contract)  


As we prepare to re-launch our sustainability efforts at City Hall, we're learning more about local reusable energy initiatives.  With so much brilliant sun in Sarasota, many of our residents have expressed an interest in learning about solar energy, including the availability and potential opportunities for solar panel installation and usage at City Facilities.

Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown and I had the opportunity this week to tour Florida's first solar energy center -- Florida Power & Light's DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia.  The center covers 180 acres and is comprised of 90,500 solar panels which move mechanically every 30 seconds to follow the sun's rays and capture them.  Photovoltaic technology is then used to convert the sunshine into electricity which is pumped into FPL's main grid for customers to use.  Each year, approximately 52,000 Mwh of electricity is produced, which, we're told, is enough to power 3,000 homes.  We look forward to the day when solar can be integrated into new architecture and, when feasible, into our utility
support operations.  
Touring FPL's DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center with Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown and FPL External Affairs Manager Rae Dowling.

This Week's Items to Know:
Old Bradenton Rd - Update     The milling and paving of Old Bradenton Rd. wrapped up this week after being slightly delayed due to the recent poor weather conditions.  With the fresh asphalt down, the entire utility improvement project is substantially completed.

Crews resurfacing Old Bradenton Rd. in the foggy conditions this week. 
While crews wait the necessary two weeks for the pavement to cure before the final thermoplastic striping can be completed, trees and vegetation will be planted in the area.

Also, the last two of the four tiki hut bus shelters are expected to be built along the SCAT route by the end of today.  Benches also will be installed.
The bike lane on Old Bradenton Rd. soon will be painted green, a new safety measure for cyclists. 

One of the final steps of the project will be to paint the bicycle lane green.  Green bike lanes are becoming popular throughout the U.S. as they make cycling safer by reminding drivers to watch out for cyclists when crossing bike lanes.  This will be the City's first green bike lane.  Painting is expected to occur in mid-March.

Downtown Development:  Projects Posted Online   Approximately $500,000,000 (one-half a billion) in real estate development is currently under construction and in the pipeline in downtown.  These projects include residential developments, hotels, mixed use and office space. 

With so much going on, it's helpful to have a one-stop location where
One Palm Avenue, currently under construction at Palm Ave. and Ringling Blvd., will include a 138-room Aloft Hotel and 139 apartments, restaurant, and retail space. 
information is available about each project.  Our Downtown Economic Development Coordinator Norm Gollub produces a detailed monthly report -- and now it's available to the public anytime on the City's economic development website     

The monthly report tracks each current and proposed project with a construction value over $500,000.  The number of hotel rooms, condos, and town homes under construction are listed, as well as the square footage of commercial space.  The developer's name, an artist rendering, construction value and project status also are provided in an easy-to-read format.

After a brief review of this report, it's clear our economy is on the upswing and Sarasota continues to be an area favorable to investors, visitors and new residents. Thanks, Norm, for making this information available and transparent to everyone.   

Bobby Jones Golf Club - Men's Sr. Championship    The recent 2nd annual Bobby Jones Open was a big hit with players and spectators and already staff is preparing for the next tournament at our historic municipal golf course:  the Men's Senior City Championship.  This event is open to any male amateur golfer who will be at least 50 years young at the start of the 2-day tournament on Sat., March 28. 

The entry fee is $145 per player and includes green fees, cart, refreshments, tee gift, prizes, and award dinner.  The first 200 paid player entries by the end of business on Mon., March 23 will be accepted. The tournament will be played on the British Course with tee times starting at 9 a.m. 

Please pass this information along to your golfing friends who might be interested!

For more details and to download a registration form click here.   Learn more about Bobby Jones Golf Club at
The Men's Sr. Championship will be played on the British Course. 
Payne Park -  Tennis Championships     Calling all amateur tennis players!   Payne Park Tennis Center will host the Sarasota County Adult Clay Court Championships March 5-8.  The tournament is
The Adult Clay Court Championships will be held at Payne Park March 5-8. 
non-sanctioned, open to all players and will include competition for men and women and singles and doubles.   The Tennis Center is owned by the City of Sarasota and operated by Sarasota County as detailed in our interlocal agreement. 

Interested players can register online at www.SCGov.Net/Parks (select "View Activities" and enter the keyword search "Clay Court Championships"). 

For more information click here or contact the Sarasota County call center:  941-861-5000.

RLTCC - Spring Break Luau    Our staff at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex already is gearing up for spring break.  To kick off vacation, young teens (ages 13-16) are invited to attend a festive luau party on Sat., March 7th from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.  The swimming pool will be open and there will be plenty of fun activities and music geared for young teenagers.  Admission is $4 now or $5 at the door.  (Proceeds will benefit youth programs at RLTCC.) The first 25 kids through the door will receive a complimentary Hawaiian lei. 

For more information click here or contact RLTCC:  941-954-4182. 

Sister Cities - One World Gala   Each year, Sarasota Sister Cities recognizes a person or organization which has made significant contributions to enhance world understanding and mutual respect through their extraordinary work, volunteer service or philanthropy.  Next month, the 2015 One World Award will be presented to Andrew Ezzell and JoAnn Patrick-Ezzell, co-founders of the Give Something Back International Foundation (GSBI).
GSBI supports K-12 education for children throughout the world with an emphasis on making online educational resources available via the internet.  The organization has sponsored children in Thailand, Vietnam, Haiti and Afghanistan.  As a result of the Ezzells' efforts, new libraries and classrooms have been built in Thailand.  Currently, planning is underway to construct a school in Haiti.

Congratulations, Andrew and JoAnn!  Your global outreach and diplomacy through your foundation is the essence of the Sister Cities program.

The One World Gala will be held Sun., March 29.  Tickets start at $150.  To register click here.
Andrew Ezzell and JoAnn Patrick-Ezzell with the  
Sarasota Sister Cities 2015 One World Award.  

Upcoming Events
Gem & Jewelry Show & Sale 
Municipal Auditorim
Fri. and Sat., Feb. 27 and 28
Sun., March 1
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sarasota Ballet - Opening Night Fireworks 
Central Boardway Park - Van Wezel
Fri., Feb. 27
7 p.m.

Le Marche
Selby Five Points Park
Sat., Feb. 28
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Hug a Tree Run  
Payne Park
Sat., Feb. 28
8 a.m. - 11 a.m.

World Wellness EcoFest
Payne Park 
Sat., Feb. 28 
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Beautiful Color of Freedom 
Dr. MLK Jr. Park
Sat., Feb. 28
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sarasota Rotary Art Festival 
Ken Thompson Park
Sat., Feb. 28
Sun., March 1
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Rock the Street Concert 
Lemon Ave. & Main St.
Sat., Feb. 28
6 p.m. - 1 a.m.

25th Annual Historic Homes Tour
Laurel Park Neighborhood
Sun., March 1
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Meet the Chief 
Payne Park Auditorium
Thurs., March 5
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

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.
Sarah McLachlan will be at the Van Wezel
on March 27.

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

Many visitors arriving at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport are heading to spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles as practice is now underway and games at Ed Smith Stadium begin March 4.  And, SRQ is happy to show the way to get there -- as contributing photographer Norm Schimmel shows in this week's Sarasota Scene.

We have it on good authority that today is Mr. Downtown's birthday.  Happy 89th, to the one and only Paul Thorpe!  We appreciate Paul's continued dedication to help make our community that much more special.

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Tom Barwin
City Manager