From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
May 29, 2015
Today (May 29) was the last day of school for students attending Sarasota County Schools. So, bustling scenes like this one, near Tuttle Elementary, with cars and students queuing each weekday will be put on hold while children enjoy a well deserved summer vacation. We hope everyone enjoys the respite and returns to the classroom rested and ready to learn in the fall.   


  • City Commission
    Mon., June 1 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., June 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • City Commission Workshop
    Wed., June 3 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Arborist I
Golf Course Attendant
IT - Manager, Professional Business Services
Lifeguard I
Loan Processor
Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
School Crossing Guard
Treatment Plant Operator C
   Utilities Engineer (Contract)   

This Week's Items to Know:
State St. Garage - Update    Every day we're making progress toward finishing the State Street Garage.  Over the past few weeks, there's been significant activity with utility work, curb and sidewalk work and painting the structure.  As we continue down the
Painting of the structure is underway. 
homestretch and the aesthetics of the building crystallize, it's becoming apparent this will be a signature building in our downtown and will provide tangible insight into what can be accomplished from an architectural standpoint when working with our Urban Design Studio.

Lemon Avenue from State Street to Pineapple Avenue is expected to remain temporarily closed at least until next Friday, June 5 as utility and sidewalk installation continues.  So, to help accommodate impacted businesses, we're extending the free valet service until June 5 for customers doing business along State State.

Although we do not have an exact date at this time, Orange Avenue will have to be temporarily closed at State Street for one week while crews connect a water main.  We realize this will be an inconvenience and we'll do our best to provide as much advance notice to area businesses and residents before the closure.

Thank you, again, for your patience with this project.  We anticipate the Garage will open in mid-June.
State Street between Orange Ave. and Lemon Ave. is temporarily closed, except for local traffic, until June 12. 
CEO Class - Spring Graduation     Congratulations to the Spring 2015 graduating class of the Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO) Intro to Business Development course!   This was the 17th class to graduate during the program's 10 year history.  And, with 22 students, this was the largest and most diverse class to date. 

Participants go through an intensive 12-week course which helps
The graduation ceremony included a festive cake
them determine the viability of their business or business idea.  Each class is instructed by the Small Business Development Center at USF Sarasota-Manatee. 

During the graduation celebration earlier this week, each student had the chance to pitch their business concept during a quick speech.  Mayor Willie Shaw delivered Mayoral Citations to each graduate and District 3 Commissioner, Shelli Freeland Eddie, who graduated from the CEO program in 2011, discussed her experience and the benefits of the course (which is offered at no cost).

The North Sarasota Redevelopment Office coordinates the program in partnership with CareerSource Suncoast and SCORE with funding from Comerica and SunTrust Banks and Sarasota County.

Funding new small businesses remains a challenge but we are working to come up with improved local business financing options to help grow the local economy.

The Spring 2015 CEO graduating class. 
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Youth Programs    We foster a positive learning environment for young golfers at our historic municipal golf course, Bobby Jones Golf Club, and several significant youth events will take place soon.

First, a Junior Boot Camp will be held tomorrow (May 30) from 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  This is a free instructional class for boys and girls ages 7 to 15 who will participate in the Drive, Chip & Putt qualifier on June 6

Next, the Sarasota Junior City Championship will be played on the American Course and British Course over two days on Sat., June 13 and Sun., June 14.   As of this writing, three dozen
BJGC Jr. Championship
2014 Junior City Championship winners:
Nicole Polivchak and Ron Johnson   
boys and girls are registered, and they will compete in gender and age categories.  For more information, including how to register the kids or grandkids, click here.
And, in just a few weeks, Junior Golf Camp will begin!  Our PGA Professional and Assistant Golf Pro will offer three camps: one in June, July and August.  Each 3-day camp  will help youngsters develop their golf skills in a fun environment, whether they've played for years or never picked up a club before.  Register for one camp or all three!

Kids ages 8 to 18 are welcome.  Camps are $100 per golfer and are held 9 a.m. to noon, with a kid-friendly lunch included. Each camp is limited to just 12 golfers.  Camp dates:

* June 22-24
* July 20-22
* August 10-12

For more information about click here or call the golf shop:  941-954-4163.

Hurricane Season Begins - June 1    With the start of hurricane season next Monday, June 1, we encourage you to spend some time and devise Hurricane a storm plan for yourself, your family and pets.  Consider what supplies you will need, including food, water and medications, for at least 4-5 days.  And, make sure you know your evacuation zone.  To determine your zone, visit the Sarasota County All Hazards webpage and enter your address.

Although forecasters are predicting a light storm season, as we know, there are no guarantees.  So, it's important to remain vigilant.  At the City, our Emergency Manager,Todd Kerkering, is working diligently to ensure staff is prepared and understands their responsibilities and tasks, if and when we need to activate for a storm or other emergency.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center produced a brief video reminder about the importance of being storm ready. I'd encourage you to watch this helpful message.  And, we'll hope for a quiet season.

National Hurricane Center:  Hurricane Preparedness 
National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Preparedness
Savor Sarasota - June 1-14    Savor Sarasota returns once again, starting next week!   For two weeks, you'll have an opportunity to savor the various scrumptious delights served at 70+ participating restaurants throughout Sarasota County, many of which are located right here in the city limits. 

Savor Sarasota eateries will offer a 3-course lunch for $15 and a 3-course dinner for $29 -- a bargain no matter how you slice it! 

Plan to buy local and taste your way around Sarasota.  Savor Sarasota runs from June 1-14. 

For more information visit   

Van Wezel - Volunteer Appreciation    Our treasured volunteer ushers at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall were recognized last week for their time, patience, dedication and helpfulness.  Turnout for the annual Volunteer Appreciation dinner was excellent with about half of the 500 ushers attending and giving
Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel, Volunteer Ida Smith and Mayor Willie Shaw.  Ms. Smith was presented with a 30 year Certificate of Service. 
us a chance to say 'thank you'. 

Each volunteer's commitment to the Van Wezel, and doing what they can to help guests have an enjoyable experience at our performing arts crown jewel, is greatly appreciated. The Van Wezel wouldn't be the same without our volunteers!

And, thank you to Mattison's for sponsoring the dinner and the Van Wezel Foundation for providing the beverages.  

During the event, one volunteer in particular was celebrated for her remarkably lengthy commitment to the Van Wezel. Ida Smith recently marked 30 years as a volunteer, wearing many different hats, over the decades.  Mayor Willie Shaw and Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel recognized her dedication with a Certificate of Service.   Thank you, Ida!  We look forward to seeing you at the Van Wezel for many years to come.  

Friday Fest Returns - Starts June 19   Our popular free outdoor concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is set to get underway in just a few weeks!  Enjoy live music and a sunset on Sarasota Bay once a month through the summer. 

Here's the schedule:

June 19 - Kettle of Fish
July 10 - Kim Betts and The Gamble Creek Band
Aug. 21 - Yesterdayze
Sept. 18 - Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul featuring the Hellacious Horns 

Friday Fest is open 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.  Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy an evening on the Bay!  Concessions are available for purchase.  No coolers, please.
Lido Pool - Summer Hours Begin June 2     Starting next Tuesday, June 2, Lido Pool will be open longer to accommodate residents and visitors enjoying summer vacation and the longer summer days. 

Hours will be:   Tuesday - Sunday  10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Located right on the Gulf of Mexico, Lido Pool is a community treasure.  And, rates continue to be very affordable at just $4 for a daily pass for adults and $2 for children and seniors. 

We'll look forward to seeing you at the pool soon!

Upcoming Events 

After a very active winter and spring season, no outdoor special events are scheduled for this weekend -- a sure sign that the seasons are changing and the summer months are approaching.    

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

American Idol Live!

Wed., July 8 - 7:30 p.m.

The Ultimate Doo Wop Show
Sat., Oct. 24 - 8 p.m.

Lewis Black:  The Rant is Due:  Part Deux
Fri., November 13 - 8 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 19 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker
Mon., December 28 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Also, subscriptions are now on sale for an amazing 2015-2016 season of Broadway, dance, and orchestra performances. The season will feature The Book of Mormon, The Philadephia Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet and many more. 

The digital edition of the 2015-2016 Subscriptions Brochure can be viewed by clicking here.  Within the brochure, you'll find performance descriptions, dates and times.

And, look for details in August when the Van Wezel's Variety season will be announced.

To purchase tickets over the phone call 941-953-3368 or stop by the Box Office at 777 N.Tamiami Trail. 

For more information visit

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Tom Barwin
City Manager