From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 7, 2015
It's been such a hot, steamy summer even the shorebirds are seeking shade!  We encountered this Great Blue Heron resting under a shade tree at Ken Thompson Park in the 91 degree heat recently.  If you're venturing outdoors in this Florida heat, avoid direct sun, like this guy, and hydrate early and often. 


  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., August 11 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Public Art Committee
    Wed., August 12 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Box Office Operator
Maintenance Mechanic I - Roads & Bridges
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Tech I
Police Officer, 2nd Class
    Rec Attendant (RLTCC)   

"Better Days for Our Bays"

Several staff members and I had the opportunity this week to take a boat tour of Sarasota Bay and Roberts Bay and learn about two compelling initiatives underway focusing on the sustainability of our bays in Sarasota.  One initiative involves creating a "living shoreline" along Sarasota Bay at
Touring Sarasota Bay and learning about the
need to adapt to become more sustainable.
Selby Gardens.  We learned from experts with Sarasota Bay Watch and the Sarasota Science and Environment Council that traditional, current energizing seawalls are lessening our bay water quality and stirring bay water turbidity. That, in turn, is inhibiting  seagrass growth, which is a key indicator of the bay's health.  In partnership with the Reefball Foundation and Selby Gardens, a proposed solution is the creation of a "living shoreline", using new shoreline protection techniques which can include energy absorbing Florida-friendly plants, sand and a limited amount of rocks.  Located right on Sarasota Bay, Selby Gardens is in an ideal position to demonstrate living shoreline technology and is excited about the possibilities of bolstering the water quality and sustainability of the bay.

The other initiative is called the Emerald Necklace project.  This is an exciting plan to revive a chain of small islands, which have become overgrown with invasive and toxic non-native plants.  The goal is to remove the exotic foliage, plant Florida-friendly vegetation, and transform the islands into a string of jewels -- an Emerald Necklace.  Areas on the islands would be opened up to make them accessible for water enthusiasts, particularly paddle boarders and kayakers.  It's envisioned this would become another destination for eco-tourists, who already enjoy significant time in Sarasota. 

This long range vision for sustainability and better days for our bays dovetails into plans the City Commission will soon consider to address public education related to climate change.  We will propose to the City Commission to allocate a portion of the recent $3 million (less attorney fees) BP settlement toward monitoring sea levels and beach erosion as we begin to plan our response to this important challenge. 

The seas are expected to rise 3-4 feet this century.  And, living in a state which is the most vulnerable in the nation to flooding, it's important for the City to learn what actions are necessary to adapt to climate change over the next generation.  We look forward to seeing these initiatives take root, leading to even better days for our bays and the Gulf of Mexico.
Staff members with Public Works, Neighborhood & Development Services, and the City Manager's Office toured the bays with Dr. Larry Stults with Sarasota Bay Watch, Dr. Jennifer Shafer with the Science and Environment Council, and Ann Logan with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.


This Week's Items to Know:
Street Street Garage - Retail Space Sold    The City of Sarasota no longer owns the retail space on the ground floor of the State Street Garage.  The property was sold last week to The Shoppes at State Street LLC for $1.7 million, well above the appraised value
The ground floor retail space is now owned by
The Shoppes at State Street LLC.

of $1.1 million.  Sales proceeds are budgeted to pay down the cost of the Garage construction.  Now that the proceeds have been received, the new Garage is debt free.  Congrats to everyone involved!

Already, the new owner has started to build out the retail space.  As you may have heard, the west side will be a luxury car showroom.  It's unknown what will be in the remainder of the ground floor on the east side, but one tenant is expected.  The building was constructed to easily accommodate a restaurant, so that certainly is a possibility.

The Garage itself is a significant addition to the heart of downtown, and it's being well received by the public with approximately 60-80 vehicles parked there every day.  Crews will remain on site for a while finalizing the construction punch list.

Sansara - Vertical Building Permit Issued     Interest continues to be high with investors and those who want to live in an urban setting close to our cultural arts venues and beautiful beaches.
An artist's rendering. 

A vertical construction permit was recently issued for Sansara, a mixed-use residential development at 300 S. Pineapple Ave.  The $11 million project will have 17 residential condo units as well as 2,800 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of a ten story building.  This property, located at Pineapple and Ringling Blvd., has been vacant for many years and we look forward to this infill project enhancing the vitality along Pineapple and helping to connect the downtown core to Burns Square.              

Utilities - Building Demolition    If you've driven by the Utilities campus on 12th Street recently, you may have noticed a demolition crew knocking down an old building.  The old compost plant, which is obsolete and hasn't been used for several years, is being razed.

At one time, the facility created compost by combining wastewater bio-solid residuals with sawdust.  Several years ago, it was determined that production process was not cost effective.  So, now, the City pays a private company in Charlotte County to haul the sludge away, saving the City approximately $500,000 each year.  The sludge continues to be processed and re-used as a soil supplement and fertilizer.

With the compost plant unused for years and outdated, it was time to move on. The demolition process will continue for awhile, so expect to see steam shovels on site.  Once it's cleared, that portion of the campus, parallel to 12th Street on the south, will remain open space for now.   
The obsolete compost plant is being razed. 
Bobby Jones Golf Club:  Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 7 - 16   If you plan on taking advantage of the State of Florida Sales Tax Holiday, which is currently underway, consider including our historic municipal golf course in your shopping plans.  Eligible items, including shirts, shorts, hats, and cleated/spiked shoes, will be tax free at Bobby Jones Golf Shop.

To qualify for the 7 percent tax exemption, each eligible item must be $100 or less.  The Sales Tax Holiday continues through August 16, so there's plenty of time to visit the golf shop, located at 1000 Circus Boulevard.
Bobby Jones Golf Shop - Sales Tax Holiday
YouTube: Bobby Jones Golf Shop & the Sales Tax Holiday.

For a list of clothing items included in the Sales Tax Holiday click here.  To see a list of frequently asked questions prepared by the State of Florida Department of Revenue click here

SPD Citizens Academy - Applications Accepted    Openings are available for the next Sarasota Police Academy which begins Wed., August 26 and runs for 12 weeks.  The class will meet every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and participants will learn all about the Sarasota Police Department.  From the philosophy of partnership policing to the marine patrol and K-9 Unit, residents will learn what it takes to protect our community in a safe and professional manner. 

Interested participants need to be at least 18 years old with no felony convictions or outstanding warrants, and either live or own property within the Sarasota city limits.

There is no cost to participate.   If you or someone you know may be interested, visit to submit an application online.
During one of the classes, Citizens Academy students put their
knowledge to the test at a staged crime scene. 
Neighborhood News:  Gillespie National Night Out    Residents in the Gillespie Park neighborhood celebrated National Night Out
Savannah Montes, 6, (daughter of Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes) enjoyed meeting McGruff.

earlier this week with representatives from the Sarasota Police Department.   It was a fun evening at the park with police officers socializing with residents and providing crime prevention tips.   There also was face painting for the kids, a homemade cake was served and even McGruff the Crime Dog made an appearance.  Interactions like this between SPD officers and residents in a casual setting is an important part of our partnership policing philosophy to build mutual respect and trust. 

The citywide National Night Out event is tentatively scheduled for Tues., October 6 at the Robert L. Taylor Community Center, so mark your calendars. There will be food, games and activities for those of all ages, as we continue to strengthen our partnership policing program.
Gillespie Park residents celebrating National Night Out with the Sarasota Police Dept. 

Upcoming Events 

I Will Run 4 Beer  
Bobby Jones Golf Club
Fri., August 7  
7 p.m.

Folk Dancers
Bayfront Community Center    
  Wed., August 12 
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Senior Ballroom Dancing  
Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., August 13
10 a.m. - Noon

Scottish Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., August 13
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 
Van Wezel Interior
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. 
The Van Wezel will host Friday Fest on
Aug. 21 & Sept. 18.

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.
Darryl Hall & John Oates will be at the Van Wezel Dec. 2.


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

Darryl Hall & John Oates
Wed., December 2 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker

Mon., December 28 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager