From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 3, 2015
We've been enjoying some remarkable weather in Sarasota.  A special thanks to resident Virginia Hoffman who captured this beautiful scene recently along the Bayfront adjacent to our Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  With a view like that, who wouldn't want to pause for a moment and enjoy it?


  • Firefighters' Pension Board Special Mtg
    Mon., April 6 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., April 6 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Bobby Jones Golf Club Study Cmte
    Tues., April 7 - 8 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Voluntary Community Workshop
    Wed., April 8 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Planning Board
    Wed., April 8 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Independent Police Advisory Panel
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
    Fri., April 10 - 1 p.m.
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Database Administrator
Information Systems Security Analyst
Landscape Maintenance Technician II
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Tech I
Police Officer, 2nd Class
 Rec Attendant 
School Crossing Guard
Sr. Case Manager
Summer Camp Counselor 
   Utilities Engineer (Contract)   

This Week's Items to Know:
Homeless Update - Next Steps   At Monday's City Commission meeting, I will present a detailed recommendation for next steps to address the chronic homeless issue in our community.  We'll have a complete update on these action steps in next week's edition of Weekly Briefs.

Officer Warren Jones - Honorary Street Dedication   This morning
 (Fri, April 3), I was honored to attend a ceremony outside the Sarasota Police Department Headquarters with Mayor Willie Shaw, Vice Mayor Susan Chapman, Commissioner Suzanne Atwell, Commissioner Stan Zimmerman, Chief DiPino, and many SPD officers, as honorary street signs were unveiled to remember the life and service of SPD Officer Warren Jones, who was killed in the line of duty on April 5, 1975. 
Patty Cornish Walls, Officer Jones' fiance, unveils
one of two new signs as Chief DiPino looks on. 
The dedication was scheduled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Officer Jones' death. 

Officer Jones was just 25 years old and a member of the SPD family for two years, when his life was taken as he approached two men siphoning gasoline on Mango Ave.  The suspected gunman killed himself in Ft. Myers before he could be arrested. 

Officer Jones was engaged to be married the following month and had traded shifts to accrue more time off for his wedding.  His fiance, Patty Cornish Walls, attended the ceremony and unveiled the signs.

The honorary street dedication is a thoughtful tribute and a reminder of the potential danger our police officers face 24/7/365.

At the request of the SPD last month, the City Commission approved the signs to serve as a remembrance for Officer Jones.

Thanks again to the Southwest Florida Police Benevolence Association for covering the costs associated with the production and installation of the signs, and to Sgt. Lori Jaress for conceptualizing the honorary street dedication and shepherding it through the approval process with our Engineering staff.     
SPD Officer Warren Jones was killed in the line of duty on April 5, 1975.
Adams Lane adjacent to the SPD Headquarters is now dedicated in his memory.

New Traffic Signals - Ringling Blvd./Orange Ave.    As we look for long term solutions to our growing seasonal traffic influxes, we continue to seek short term fixes which will help alleviate some of the congestion.  Starting next Wed., April 8, be on the lookout for new traffic signals at the Ringling Blvd./Orange Ave. intersection.  (Crews will remove the old signals overnight on April 7.)

The current traffic signal configuration is limited, and, with regard to left turns, can only accommodate protected left turns. That means drivers must wait through the entire signal cycle to go -- even if there isn't any oncoming traffic.  This has led to vehicles stacking up and blocking the thru lane, creating gridlock.  In addition,  the current left turn arrow is a separate piece of equipment located away from the traffic signal overhead, so it may not be obvious to all drivers.

The new equipment will be all in one, with a five section signal, which will allow drivers to proceed after they yield on green.  Also, sensors will determine the presence of vehicles and change the lights accordingly.

As drivers, we tend to familiarize ourselves with an intersection, then anticipate when the traffic signal will change.  This system will be different.  So, we caution everyone to be careful at Ringling and Orange as drivers become acclimated to the new signals.  Electronic message boards are in place reminding drivers about the upcoming signal change.

A roundabout is still in the works for that intersection in 2017.  But, with the amount of seasonal traffic we're experiencing, we wanted to take action now.

Thanks to Alex Davis Shaw, our City Engineer, for working through the logistics with this issue to make it happen. 
Newtown Tour - Charlotte County   Charlotte County officials have been hearing about the successful redevelopment in North Sarasota, and traveled here last week to see the results first hand, and to learn about the public-private partnerships which inspired and led to the redevelopment. 

More than two dozen elected officials, staff members and community members from Charlotte County and the City of Sarasota gathered at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex to exchange thoughts. Some of the topics discussed included the process to establish the
N. Sarasota Redevelopment General Manager Lorna Alston
addressing Charlotte County officials and community members.
Newtown CRA,  acquiring federal funding for housing, the entrepreneur business training program, local jobs program, youth empowerment and public-private sector collaborations.

In recent years, the changes in North Sarasota have been varied and impressive:  the multiple development phases of public housing at Janie's Garden, the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, the widening of U.S. 301, the storefront beautification grant program, and the rebuilding of Booker High School.  These accomplishments  were achieved by working together with the community with a vision for a better North Sarasota. 

The future of North Sarasota is promising to be even brighter, as several new economic development initiatives advance.

We were honored to share our insights with our neighbors to the south.  And,  it was particularly fitting that the meeting occurred now as we celebrate 100 years of our Newtown community.   
Job Opportunities - Mobile Career Center    CareerSource Suncoast is taking its show on the road!  Their Mobile Career Center, offering state of the art technology and resources at no cost, will now be in North Sarasota once a month.  Those looking for assistance with a resume, cover letter, career planning, skills assessment and more are encouraged to stop by the mobile unit.  Personalized job searches and tutorials via computer are also available.

The Mobile Career Center will be at the Newtown Selby Goodwill, 1781 Dr. MLK, Jr. Way, the fourth Wednesday of the month from 9 a.m. - noon.   So, look for it on April 22!   For more information, click here.

The CareerSource Suncoast Mobile Career Center will be in
Newtown on the fourth Wednesday of each month. 
While it's important to have the proper skill set for a job, it's perhaps just as important to have a good presentation of those skills in the form of a resume and cover.  This Mobile Career Center, with assigned dates to be in Newtown, should be very helpful for those in the job market.  We appreciate CareerSource Suncoast bringing it to our community on a regular basis. 

Children's Fountain - OPEN!   With the mercury starting to rise, the Steigerwaldt-Jockey Children's Fountain, located within Bayfront Park, is open once again and ready to serve as a fun spot for the kids and grandkids to cool off. 

Weather permitting, the Children's Fountain is open every daySpring hours are:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  (Please note:  the Fountain will be closed this Sun., April 5 for Easter.)

The Children's Fountain reopened this past Wednesday and, already, lots of families are enjoying it.  When you stop by, look for the two new blue Florida lizard statues we installed during the winter, adding even more color and whimsy to the area.  Have fun!
19-month-old Peyton Smith enjoys a visit to the Children's Fountain Thursday morning.
  He was there with his mom, Hannah. Both are City of Sarasota residents. 
Lose Big, Win Bigger - Weigh in April 6   You still have time to register for our Lose Big, Win Bigger challenge at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.   The challenge is set to begin next Monday (April 6) and run for 8 weeks. 

The idea is to commit to making healthier choices, particularly with diet and exercise, which ultimately will lead to losing weight and an overall healthier lifestyle.

The entry fee is $30 per person and includes a 2 month full access pass at RLTCC.  Prizes will be awarded to those with the largest percentage of weight loss.

At this writing, 15 people are registered and are ready to take the challenge!  There's plenty of room for more participants.  Good luck to everyone!

For more information contact the RLTCC staff:  941-954-4182.    

Upcoming Events

First Friday in the Park
Selby Five Points Park
Fri., April 3
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
Easter Sunrise Service 
Bayfront Island Park 
Sun., April 5  
Sunrise/6 a.m.

Easter Gospel Festival 
Rosemary District - Central Ave. 
Sun., April 5 
3:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 

Victory Sarasota Sunrise Service 
Lido Beach 
Sun., April 5 
6 a.m.

Church of the Palms Easter Service 
Lido Beach 
Sun., April 5  
6:30 a.m.

Coffee with a Cop 
McDonald's - 3875 S. Tamiami Trail
(Bee Ridge Rd. & S. Tamiami)
Thurs., April 9
10 a.m. 

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

The Temptations and The Four Tops
Fri., April 3 - 8 p.m.

Sat., April 4 - 8 p.m.

St Petersburg L'Hermitage Theater "Russian Ballet"
Tues., April 7 - 8 p.m.

Boz Scaggs
Thurs., April 9 - 8 p.m.
Boz Scaggs will be at the
Van Wezel on April 9.


Johnny Mathis
Sun., April 12 - 7 p.m.

Diana Krall Wallflower World Tour
Thurs., April 16 - 8 p.m.

Chris Botti
Fri., April 17 - 8 p.m.

Robert Irvine LIVE!
Sat., April 18 - 8 p.m.

Roberta Flack
Robert Irvine LIVE! will be at
the Van Wezel April 18.

Wed., April 22 - 8 p.m.

Rain:  A Tribute to The Beatles
Thurs., April 23 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Woman
Fri., April 24 - 7:30 p.m.

For more information visit

Happy Easter Weekend to all!

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Tom Barwin
City Manager