From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 10, 2015
One of the fun and meaningful duties of the Mayor is to present awards and proclamations.  Earlier this week, Mayor Willie Shaw recognized April 6 as Tartan Day.  He and Allan McIlraith, President of the local Caledonian Club, shared a good laugh during the ceremony when Mayor Shaw was presented with a traditional Scottish tartan necktie.


  • Lift Station 87 - Project Team Meeting
    Mon., April 13 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., April 13 - 4 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., April 14 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 109
  • General Employees' Pension Board
    Special Meeting
    Tues., April 14 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Officers' Pension Special Meeting
    Tues., April 14 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Employee Retirement Account Cmte
    Special Meeting
    Tues., April 14 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., April 14 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., April 15 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
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)   

Homeless Update

Late Monday night, the City Commission enthusiastically received a proposed 8 point action plan to address the chronic homeless issue.  For the past 26 years, the Sarasota community has worked to find solutions to this difficult challenge.  It's a daunting undertaking. But, we're optimistic that with a strategic plan and a collective response, we can successfully execute short term and long term solutions.  
The action plan will challenge government agencies, secular institutions, faith based organizations, and private philanthropists to help raise funds and implement these 8 steps, which emphasize a strategic, decentralized  approach.  It is critical to address the needs of the chronic homeless in ways that will successfully stabilize individuals while not overstressing business districts and neighborhoods. 

A recent survey of the chronically homeless revealed that individuals currently living on the streets have been doing so for four years.  Housing and mental health services are critical priorities.

The recommended 8 point action plan is the result of extensive experiences and research by staff and conversations with local homeless service providers. It also took into account the voluntary responses and results of a recent 2015 homeless survey conducted by the City. 

The 8 recommended next steps are:

1. Hire an Action Plan Coordinator
2. Initiate a Housing First Program
3. Encourage a Street Diversion, Navigation Center, Transition Housing
4. Double Mental Health Beds in Sarasota County
5. Low Rent Housing Construction
6. Explore Funding Options for Countywide Ballot Consideration
7. Homeless Outreach Teams Access to Homeless
    Management Information System
8. Information/Responsibility Cards for Chronically Homeless

To read the entire action plan click here.  To read the results of the 2015 Homeless Survey click here

In the coming weeks, the City Commission will finalize specific details with the plan, including a path forward.  The City will seek additional feedback on the action plan from as many partners as possible.  

This Week's Items to Know:
Sarasota Film Festival:  Homeless Panel Discussion   The 17th annual Sarasota Film Festival opens tonight at the Opera House with "Time Out of Mind", which tells the tale of a homeless man, played by Richard Gere, living on the streets of New York City.  This screening is particularly timely with the roll out this week of the recommended action plan to address the chronic homeless issue in Sarasota.  I anticipate this film will help spark further discussion about the issue. 

Several short films on homelessness will be screened on Sat., April 11 followed by a formal panel discussion.  I will be one of the panelists and I look forward to continuing the discussion about the City's next steps as the community works collaboratively to address the chronic homeless issue.  The films will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Opera House and the panel discussion is expected to start around noon.  Admission is $14.

A total of 180 films will be shown during the week-long festival including documentaries, shorts, features and many family friendly movies.  For a complete film guide click here.  Good luck with your selections.  See you at the movies!
The opening night film, "Time Out of Mind", stars Richard Gere and Ben Vereen and highlights the struggles of a homeless man. 
Old Bradenton Rd. - Green Bike Lanes   They've been long anticipated and this week green bicycle lanes started to appear on Old Bradenton Road.  The lanes literally are bright green. 

This is a bicycle safety trend that is becoming popular in communities
Crews applying a green resin and epoxy to the asphalt to create a green bike lane. 
-- and the green bike lanes on Old Bradenton Rd. are the first in Sarasota County.  The idea is that the bright green color will grab drivers' attention and serve as a reminder to be careful and share the road.

The green lanes will be on both sides of the road stretching 1.5 miles from University Parkway to Dr. MLK, Jr. Way.  Crews plan to work this weekend (on Saturday and Sunday) to finish applying the green material.

So far, the feedback we're receiving is positive.  What do you think?
The first stretch of completed green bike lanes, located on the east side of
Old Bradenton Rd. just south of University Parkway. 
State Street Garage - Update    State Street between Orange Ave. and Lemon Ave. is now temporarily closed during the daytime.  We anticipate State Street will reopen to one lane of traffic on Fri., April 17.  This closure is necessary while installation of a new water line begins and the concrete facade panels are placed on the structure. 

Earlier this week, crews encountered some unexpected difficulties with the water line beneath Orange Ave. and, unfortunately, the intersection closure at State Street was extended longer than anticipated.  We're making every effort to reopen Orange Ave. for the weekend.

In the meantime, crews are making good progress installing the parking garage facade panels, and we're starting to get a feel for what the design of our new State Street Garage will look like. We're looking forward to seeing more.  This is an exciting time for our downtown!

We ask for everyone's continued patience.  Expect intermittent street and lane closures in that area for the next couple of months.  To see a revised work schedule, click here.

At this writing, we're on target to open the Garage in mid-May and then continue with intermittent lane closures as the road is repaved and new sidewalks are installed. 
Crews hanging concrete panels on the facade of the State Street Garage on Tuesday. 
N. Lido Park - Invasive Tree Removal    We're taking action in North Lido Park to make it a more Florida native habitat.  Next Monday, April 13, crews will begin to remove 34 invasive Australian pines from the park.  The exotics will be replaced with native trees and vegetation by the end of the month.

As an invasive species, Australian pines have a negative
One of the invasive Australian pines that
will be removed from N. Lido Park. 
impact on the ecosystem, including preventing native vegetation from growing and thriving.  That, in turn, leads to less habitat for birds and other small animals. 

N. Lido Park will remain open during the tree removal, which is expected to wrap up by next Friday, April 17.  Residents and visitors may see and hear heavy machinery in the area approximately 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. 

While most of the trees will be chipped and hauled away, some may be re-purposed as makeshift benches for park visitors. 

We're able to accomplish this park revitalization with a matching grant from the Florida Division of Forestry.  They gave us $10,000 and the City matched that amount.

Thanks to Todd Kucharski in our Public Works Department, who oversees our parks, for securing the grant and for coordinating with Sarasota County, which operates the park, to get the work done.
Public Works General Manager Todd Kucharski talks with employees from Sarasota County, City of Sarasota and a private contractor about the invasive tree removal. 
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Men's Tournament   We're gearing up for another tournament at Bobby Jones Golf Club!  The annual Men's City Championship will be held over two weekends:  April 25 & 26 and May 2 & 3.

The tournament is open to any male amateur golfer.  (If a registrant is under 16 years old, a handicap index below 14.0 is required.)  The Bobby Jones Logo entry fee per golfer is $185, which includes greens fees with riding cart each day, tee gift, four beverage tickets, tournament awards and award banquet.

To download an application click here.  Completed entry forms must be received by Mon., April 20 at 5 p.m.

Golfers will play 72 holes on the British Course over four days on back-to-back weekends.
This is the 44th anniversary of the Men's City Championship and we're looking forward to another successful event.   
RLTCC - Sam Shields Basketball Tourney   The Robert L. Taylor Community Complex will be the scene of a fun -- and competitive -- 5-on-5 basketball tournament this weekend.  The Sam "Sticky" Shields Basketball Tournament starts tonight, April 10, at 6 p.m. and concludes Sunday at 10 a.m. 

As you may know, Sam Shields is one of our hometown heroes -- a native Sarasotan who now is a NFL cornerback with the Green Bay Packers.  He's also a big supporter of our RLTCC.  Besides putting his name on the tournament, Sam will be there in person and will be available for an autograph session following the championship game on Sunday morning.

Currently, six teams are signed up to compete for a $2,000 cash prize which will be awarded to the grand champion team.

A $2 donation is being accepted at the door.  All proceeds will go to benefit youth programs at RLTCC.

It should be a fun tournament!  Bravo to the staff at RLTCC for coordinating what is expected to be another terrific community event.

Family Living's Kids Day   
Payne Park
Sat., April 11
9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Lido Residents' Jazz
Lido Beach Pavilion
        Sat., April 11        
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Tunes in the Park 
Laurel Park
Sat., April 11
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Swim Around Lido Key Competition 
Lido Beach 
Sun., April 12 
7 a.m.  - 3 p.m.

SFF Moonlight Movie:  Dolphin Tale 
Lido Beach
Sun., April 12
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

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

Diana Krall Wallflower World Tour
Diana Krall will be at the
Van Wezel April 16.

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
Wed., April 22 - 8 p.m.

Rain:  A Tribute to The Beatles
Robert Irvine LIVE! will be at the
Van Wezel April 18.

Thurs., April 23 - 8 p.m.

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

For more information visit

I hope you consider experiencing the Sarasota Film Festival this weekend!

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