From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 10, 2015
The morning heat and humidity didn't deter this couple from enjoying Eloise Werlin Causeway Park.  While Raul Quinones cast a line to see what he could catch, his wife Shirley was delving into a mystery.  They just moved here from Chicago and are enjoying their first summer in Sarasota and the many public spaces available, like this popular park adjacent to the Ringling Bridge.


  • Lift Station 87 - Project Team Meeting
    Mon., July 13 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Special City Commission
    Mon., July 13 - 2 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., July 13 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Special City Commission
    Mon., July 13 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., July 15 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., July 16 - 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.
Accountant I
Crew Leader I - Solid Waste Division
Garage Attendant (Part-Time)
Lifeguard I
Manager, Information Technology
Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
   Utilities Engineer (Contract)   

This Week's Items to Know:
Lift Station 87 - Microtunneling Approved   A major infrastructure decision was made by the City Commission during a special meeting earlier this week which will impact the City's infrastructure and help ensure a safe wastewater collection system for decades to come.

The City Commission unanimously approved moving forward with City Logo microtunneling under the Hudson Bayou and to construct sewage Lift Station 87 at Luke Wood Park. The re-engineered lift station will withstand a Category 3 hurricane.  This is the plan the City's current engineer of record for the project, McKim and Creed, recommended after re-designing the project following engineering failures tied to the project's orginal engineer AECOM. 

LS 87 will handle approximately one-third of the City's sewage flow, including that from Sarasota Memorial Hospital.  So, we anticipate it will be an integral part of the City's utility system and emergency response system for 100 years.

The City remains in litigation over the original engineering plan which led to many costly delays and halting construction.  While the attorneys continue down their legal path to recover costs expended on the faulty, never completed project, we are pleased to have the unanimous support of the City Commission to move forward with microtunneling as proposed by McKim and Creed.  They will begin working on a revised project schedule soon.

Information regarding the LS 87 project can be found at         

State Street Garage - Update     Like the rest of the community, we're looking forward to the State Street Garage opening soon.   We're awaiting the completion of the  installation of an elevator and a subsequent inspection by the State of Florida. 

That being said, the required completion date in the current construction contract is August 14.  With most construction projects, timelines and deadlines change as unexpected situations arise particularly those underground. 

In this case, the completion date was modified due to additions to the project as well as unforeseen conditions underground, including a non-City owned utility that was not located where crews were informed it would be, thus requiring a last minute utility re-design.  That was out of the City and contractor's control.  Moving forward with other construction projects, it will be important for us to keep the public informed of changes to the schedule and not to be overly optimistic with a completion date.

In the meantime, a dozen palm and holly trees were planted this week adjacent to the Garage as part of the State Street streetscape.   It is starting to look good!

Holiday Weekend -  Thanks, PW & SPD!     We're back in the mix of the work week but I'd like to take a moment and reflect on the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Last weekend was a very busy time in Sarasota with the Grand Prix boat parade, powerboat races and fireworks display. 

Our Public Works crews were on scene making sure the streets were cleaned and cleared of debris.  They did an impressive job, especially after the boat parade --- you wouldn't have known thousands of people had just been lining the streets. 

All our police officers were out and about over the weekend on foot, in cars, on boats, bicycles and patrolling on ATVs to ensure everyone -- including the wildlife -- was safe.  We greatly appreciate our officers sacrificing the holiday to work in uncomfortable conditions with the extreme heat and large crowds.

21-year-old Jansen Wade is especially appreciative of SPD.  He stopped by SPD Headquarters earlier this week to thank Sgt. Richie Schwieterman and Officer Mike Skinner for saving his life.  On the 4th of July, Wade was canoeing off Lido Beach when his canoe flipped over and his hand became entangled in the canoe ropes.  He started to swallow water and soon lost consciousness.  A SPD marine boat was nearby and Sgt. Schwieterman jumped into the water to rescue Wade while Officer Skinner maneuvered the patrol boat and helped keep Wade afloat.  Great work, Sgt. Schwieterman and Officer Skinner! 

Wade was hospitalized for a few days and immediately after being released, he visited SPD Headquarters to give the officers a hug and a personal thank you.

Thanks to the entire SPD team for putting in the long hours and keeping the community safe.
Left:   Jansen Wade embracing Officer Mike Skinner;
Right:  Officer Skinner, Jansen Wade and Sgt. Richie Schwieterman. 
Black Skimmer Colony - A-Okay     Thanks to the efforts of the Sarasota Audubon Society, volunteers, SPD officers, and respectrul beach goers, the black skimmer colony on Lido Beach made it through the busy 4th of July weekend nicely.  We heard from the Audubon Society that the adult and baby skimmers are doing well and there weren't any incidents with these unique seabirds which are considered a species of concern.  We appreciate everyone's efforts in protecting not just the black skimmers but also keeping an eye on the sea turtles (we understand two new nests appeared over the weekend) and manatees (which the SPD marine patrol helped corral away from the Grand Prix powerboat races).  Well done, everyone!
A black skimmer chick with a fish.  Photo courtesy:  Sarasota Audubon Society. 
Lido Key - Pedestrian Bridges Update     Crews are making good progress with the improvement project along Boulevard of the Presidents on Lido Key.  All five pedestrian bridges have been
All five pedestrian bridges along
Blvd. of the Presidents are being replaced. 
removed due to age and deterioration and workers are in the process of installing new bridges with a manmade material that is expected to last for up to 30 years.  The project is scheduled to wrap up in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, please be careful walking in the area since the sidewalk is temporarily closed.

Centennial Park - Observation Deck     Once crews finish installing the new pedestrian bridges on Lido Key, the same contractor will begin work on a new observation deck at Centennial Park off 10th Street and Tamiami Trail.  The current deck is temporarily closed for public safety reasons due to the wood deteriorating from the daily exposure to Mother Nature right on Sarasota Bay.  The deck will be replaced with the same material that's being used for the bridges on Lido Key and also was used to build several new observation decks last summer near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. 

We expect demolition and construction on the new deck should begin by mid-July and wrap up by the end of August. This is one of the many public viewing areas in the city where residents and visitors can enjoy watching boats on the bay or take in one of our magnificent sunsets,and we're looking forward to this space reopening soon.
The observation deck at Centennial Park will be replaced by the end of August. 
Home Rule HERO Award - Mayor Shaw     Congratulations to Mayor Willie Shaw who was presented with the Florida League of Cities Home Rule HERO Award earlier this week.  Mayor Shaw was recognized for his dedication to advocating for city issues and going above and beyond by traveling to Tallahassee to talk with lawmakers during the recent legislative session.  He is a champion of local government and we greatly appreciate his dedication and commitment to the issue of home rule.

Mayor Willie Shaw accepting the Florida League of Cities Home Rule HERO Award from Scott Dudley, Legislative Director with the League. 
TONIGHT:  Friday Fest   The second Friday Fest of the summer will be held on the Van Wezel lawn on Sarasota Bay tonight (July 10) starting at 5 p.m. weather permitting.

Bring your chairs and blankets for a free performance by Kim Betts and the Gamble Creek Band.  Expect to hear popular country/southern and rock/classic hits from this group that is fronted by Kim Betts, daughter of Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Enjoy the live music and sunset!  And, if you look closely, you may may even spot a few volunteers from City Hall helping to pour beverages.
Last month's Friday Fest and sunset at the Van Wezel. 

Upcoming Events 

Feldenkrais Yoga
 Bayfront Community Center   
Wed., July 15
9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Folk Dancers   
Bayfront Community Center 
Wed., July 15
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Senior Ballroom Dancing
Bayfront Community Center 
Thurs., July 16 
10 a.m. - Noon  

 Scottish Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center 
Thurs., July 16 
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Job Fair - Janie's Garden Phase III 
Janie's Garden Pavilion - 2350 Central Ave.
Fri., July 17
8 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

American Idol Live!
Friday Fest: Kim Betts & the Gamble Creek Band
Fri., July 10 - 5 p.m. 
Free Outdoor Concert

Friday Fest:  Yesterdayze
Fri., August 21 - 5 p.m. 

Friday Fest: Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul
Featuring The Hellacious Horns
Fri., Sept. 18 - 5 p.m. 
Shen Yun Orchestra will be at the Van Wezel in Oct.  
Free Outdoor Concert

John Cleese and Eric Idle
Fri., October 2 - 7:30 p.m.

Shen Yun Orchestra 
Tues., October 13 - 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.
Kristin Chenoweth will perform Feb. 27 at the Van Wezel.


Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert
Sun., January 3, 2016 - 7 p.m.

Kristin Chenoweth

Sat., February 27, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Linda Eder with Robert Cuccioli
Thurs., March 24, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Subscriptions are on sale for the upcoming 2015-2016 season of Broadway, dance, and orchestra performances. The digital edition of the 2015-2016 Subscriptions Brochure can be viewed by clicking here

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

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