From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 17, 2015
Just two more Wednesday Farmers Markets remain this season.   Launched in November, the Wednesday Farmers Market at Five Points in downtown is a smaller version of the Saturday market.   We caught up with Logan Gordon of Suncoast Floral this week as he watched over his booth of flowers and floral arrangements.  We invite everyone to shop local and to continue to patronize the Farmers Market.  The last two Wednesday markets of the spring season will be April 22 & 29 with hours 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.


  • General Employees' Pension Board
    Mon., April 20 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., April 20 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., April 22 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex- SRQ Media Studio
  • Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 Stakeholders
    Thurs., April 23 - 4:30 p.m.
    Center for Arts and Humanities - 1226 N. Tamiami Trail
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Booking House Operations Manager
Golf Course Attendant
Landscape Maintenance Technician II
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Tech I
Maintenance Tech I - SPD
Police Officer, 2nd Class
 Rec Attendant 
School Crossing Guard
Sr. Case Manager
   Utilities Engineer (Contract)   

This Week's Items to Know:
Fair Housing Seminar - April 23   The Sarasota Office of Housing and Community Development, which is a joint agency between the City and County, will host a free Fair Housing seminar next Thurs., April 23 at 10:15 a.m. at the Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota.

Housing fairness is an important ingredient for the success and well being of a community.  Sometimes landlords, real estate agents, property managers, builders, and architects aren't fully aware of the law. 

That's why this free seminar is being held -- to help educate the community about the Fair Housing Act and discrimination.  The presentation will be given by attorney Cole Kekelis with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.  He will help provide a better understanding of housing discrimination and answer questions such as, 'Can I advertise my rental unit for seniors only?' and 'I own this house.  Don't I get to choose who I rent to?'

There is no cost for the seminar and it's open to anyone with an interest.  Seating is limited, so you are encouraged to RSVP:  941-951-3607 or
For more information click here.

Sister Cities - Merida Delegation Visit   On Wednesday, Mayor Willie Shaw and I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a delegation from one of our Sister Cities -- Merida, Mexico.  Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida has been a Sister City for almost five years.  It was nice to see the delegation here seeking economic development opportunities between Merida and Sarasota.

Over the week, the delegation held extensive meetings with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation and business leaders.  They also toured Port of Manatee, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Tervis Tumbler, Goodwill and PGT Industries.

In addition, delegates spoke with SDP Chief Bernadette DiPino and Interim Deputy Chief Pat Robinson.  And we learned that, like the City of Sarasota, Merida embraces the concepts of partnership policing which has led to decreased crime in their community and one of the lowest crime rates in Mexico.

Home to one million residents, Merida is a modern city located a short distance from the Gulf of Mexico (approximately 180 miles west of Cancun).  With many museums, galleries and music venues, it is a cultural center for Yucatan.  It also is a historic city with Mayan ruins.  To learn more about Merida, visit the Sarasota Sister Cities website.

We enjoyed the Merida delegation's visit and look forward to a long lasting mutually beneficial sister city relationship.
With Mayor Willie Shaw, Economic Development Coordinator
Norm Gollub and the Merida delegation. 
SPD - Police Diversity/Recruitment Grant    We're pleased to announce the Sarasota Police Department was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.  These monies will be used to implement SPD's recruiting plan and to help cast a wider net for new police officers as we strive to have our department reflect our community.

Attending the police academy can be expensive when you take into consideration the cost for tuition, books and uniforms.  With this grant, at least three exceedingly qualified candidates will be offered scholarships to become a SPD officer.  Funds also will be used to attend recruitment events and provide exhibits, handouts and promotional materials to potential recruits.
The grant is from the Willa and Robert Bernhard Fund and the McCauley-Brown Fund through the Community Foundation.  We are appreciative of their philanthropic generosity. 

Due to pending retirements, we expect to see quite a bit of turnover at SPD over the next few years.  SPD has a full time recruiter on board now and we are committed to recruiting the best qualified candidates who will continue to keep Sarasota a safe and vibrant community. 
Lido Beach Shoreline Protection Project    The Army Corps of Engineers hosted two community meetings on Wednesday at City Hall to provide an update on the long term Lido Beach shoreline protection project.  The meetings were very well attended -- in fact, the first one was standing room only.

The Army Corps staff did a good job distilling a lot of complex information and
I had the opportunity to welcome a standing room only
crowd for the first of two public meetings about the project. 
giving a concise presentation on the history of the project and its current status.  The environmental assessment report was recently released and shows that using the Big Pass shoal as a borrow site would not impact Siesta Key or boating channels.  It's important to note that there will be more analysis and the Army Corps will continue to accept information from the public until May.

I would like to thank all who have been involved in this important, lengthy, and fully transparent process.  Our collective efforts will result in the best approach to protect our region's environment, shorelines and properties as we move forward in anticipation of rising sea levels over the next 50 years.
 Lido Beach last month following a short term restoration
project due to erosion from Tropical Storm Debby. 
RLTCC - Basketball Tournament Results   Of the six teams competing in the inaugural Sam "Sticky" Shields adult basketball tournament held last week at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, Team Baird, Inc. from Sarasota was the last one standing.  As the tournament champions, not only do they have bragging rights until the next tourney, but they also walked away with a $2,000 cash prize.  Congratulations to Team Baird Inc.!  Team 941-Bombers was the runner up.

The tournament attracted many spectators who had a chance to see some high quality basketball.  Many of the competitors are former college standouts (including Altron Jackson from Team 941-Bombers who was the lead scorer for the University of South Florida), and some the players currently compete at the professional-amateur level in Tampa.
Tournament champs Team Baird Inc. hoist their first place trophy with Sam Shields. 
We'd like to thank Sarasota native and NFL Green Bay Packers star Sam Shields who was on hand at the games not only encouraging fun play and good sportsmanship, but also made himself available for autographs.  

N. Lido Park - Invasive Tree Removal   The removal of 34 invasive Australian pines at North Lido Park is going well and, at this writing, is expected to wrap up by the weekend.  Some of the pine logs are being re-purposed, creating a barrier between the 2-track hiking trail and vegetation.

Within the next couple of weeks, landscape crews will plant native replacement trees -- everything from cabbage palms to gumbo limbos to red cedar trees.  Once those take root and grow, they should provide just as much shade as the invasive pines. 
A worker scales an invasive Australian pine tree earlier this week in N. Lido Park.
 Native trees are expected to be planted by the end of April. 
Try Transit Day  - April 25   If you're looking for an alternative way to get around town without your car, you may want to consider public transportation via the bus.  You can give it a try on Sat., April 25 -- Try Transit Day -- when SCAT rides will be free.

This is a good opportunity to learn more about this transportation system and experience it personally as a user.  As we wrap up what is considered to be the most robust tourist season in recent memory, and the accompanying traffic challenges, it's important for us all to keep open minds and look at all possibilities to help ease congestion.

We continue to encourage City employees to ride SCAT, if it's a viable option.  For years, the County has offered free ridership to City employees.  We appreciate this program and hope employees consider taking advantage of the offer.

To learn more about Try Transit Day click here and to review a bus schedule click here.

SCAT buses lined up at the transfer station in downtown Sarasota earlier this week. 

Upcoming Events

Suncoast Boat Show
Bayfront Marina
Fri. & Sat., April 17 & 18 :  10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sun., April 19:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Bike Rodeo for Kids 
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex
Sat., April 18
9 a.m. - Noon 
St. Armands Fine Art Festival 
St. Armands Circle Park 
Sat. & Sun., April 18 & 19 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

SRQ Dance:  Harmony in Motion 
Bayfront Community Center
Sun., April 19
10 a.m. - Noon

The Shamrock Neighborhood Circus 
Shamrock Pub - 2257 Ringling Blvd. 
Sun., April 19  
4 p.m. - 8 p.m. 

All Power to the Imagination
Payne Park
Sun., April 19
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week 
Victim Tribute
The Salvation Army Center for Worship & Service
1701 S. Tuttle Ave.
Mon., April 20 
6:30 p.m.

Fair Housing Seminar 
Selby Public Library - 1331 First St.
Thurs., April 23
10:15 a.m.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

Chris Botti
Robert Irvine LIVE! will be at the Van Wezel on April 18.

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
Thurs., April 23 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Woman
Catch Kathy Griffin at the
Van Wezel on April 26.

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

Kathy Griffin
Sun., April 26 - 7 p.m.

For more information visit

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Tom Barwin
City Manager