From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 14, 2015
It's been a very active, fun and productive summer at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.  These 6-year-olds, Ziahnna Sims and Jaylah Randall, proudly displayed the cupcakes they decorated during a festive gathering this week to commemorate the last day of swim lessons.  For the past nine weeks, they learned how to swim along with 90 other children.   Costs for the classes were covered by a generous philanthropist in Sarasota. 
More details on that story below in Weekly Briefs. 


  • Citizens with Disabilities Advisory Board
    Mon., August 17 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Studio
  • City Commission
    Mon., August 17 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Independent Police Advisory Panel
    Tues., August 18 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., August 19 - 9 a.m.
  • Community Workshop 15-CW-18
    Thurs., August 20 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Accountant I
Administrative Assistant
Maintenance Mech II
Maintenance Mechanic I - Roads & Bridges
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Tech I
Police Officer, 2nd Class
  Rec Attendant (RLTCC) 
Utility Mechanic I

This Week's Items to Know:
Downtown - Businesses are Open!   Crews are making good progress relocating utilities underground at Main Street and Orange
The sign says it all! 
Avenue in advance of building a roundabout at the intersection.  We understand the temporary closure is an inconvenience to drivers and a hindrance to some shoppers. To lessen the impact as much as possible, the project, which will be a significant transportation addition to help traffic and pedestrian flow through downtown, was scheduled during the summer months.  As the work continues, City staff is in close contact with business owners in the area keeping them updated on the construction schedule. 

Already, the construction crews have been working on Saturday and
Crews working just east of the Orange Ave.
and Main St. intersection.  
even during the recent rain storms.  They're working under a tight schedule to have the project significantly completed by mid-November. 

Don't let the dust deter you!  Construction times like this are always challenging, and we need to continue to support our local businesses, particularly those located in the construction zone.  To make it as convenient as possible for people to visit downtown, we're offering free valet parking just north of the Orange Ave. and State St. intersection.  The service is available every day 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.   Also, within a short, convenient walk to Main Street is the new State Street Garage with almost 400 free parking spaces.

Reminding the public that our downtown is open for business during this construction period is important.  Thanks to our Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg for producing a brief, informative video for social media this week that sends a clear message: Downtown Sarasota businesses are open!  You can watch the video below.  If you're on Facebook or Twitter, the video is pinned to the top of the City of Sarasota page where it can be easily shared. 

Businesses are open! 
YouTube:  Businesses are Open!
Neighborhood News - New Pedestrian Bridges     In a previous edition of Weekly Briefs, we mentioned that all five of the wooden pedestrian bridges along Boulevard of the Presidents on Lido Key
One of the new pedestrian bridges along Boulevard of the Presidents.

would be replaced.  Well, the project is done and the bridges look good and are available for use.  The old bridges were deteriorating from being exposed for decades to the salty and wet elements coming off the Gulf of Mexico.  The replacement bridges are made from a manufactured material which is expected to hold up well in harsh conditions for up to 50 years.            
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex - Philanthropic Grants   I've noted before in Weekly Briefs that Sarasota is a giving community which often benefits from generous acts of
The lessons were conducted at RLTCC by aquatics instructors with the Sarasota YMCA.  Photo Courtesy: Enrique Pino  
philanthropy.  And, we've witnessed that generosity once again.

Via the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Keith and Linda Monda generously donated the funding to cover the costs of swim lessons for 95 children at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.  For nine weeks, the kids learned how to swim, with lessons conducted at RLTCC by instructors with the Sarasota Family YMCA.  The Mondas recognize that swimming is a critical life skill (especially in an area like Sarasota with so much water) which should not have an income barrier.  Thanks to their generosity, these youngsters now have a good foundation of swimming basics to build upon.

L to R:  Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell, Gulf Coast Community Foundation Sr. Vice President for Philanthropy Veronica Brady, Linda Monda, RLTCC Manager Jerry Fogle, Keith Monda, Mayor Willie Shaw  
The Mondas' also sponsored 200 children so they could have access to RLTCC and all the fun recreational activities at the facility during the summer.  The RLTCC staff works hard to keep pass fees affordable.  But, for some families struggling to make ends meet, any amount is too much.  So, these 200 kids had a safe, fun place to spend the summer -- thanks to the generosity of the Mondas.

To commemorate the last day of swim lessons and to thank the Mondas, a celebration was held this week with the children at RLTCC. 

Keith Monda cultivated a successful career as an executive in the fashion and apparel industry.  For decades, he and his wife vacationed in Sarasota, enjoying the community's natural beauty and relaxing environment.  Several years ago, they relocated to Sarasota County, and now, as full time philanthropists, they're committed to helping less fortunate children become better prepared for a healthy and successful life.  They refer to this time in their lives as their 'give back period'.  Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Monda, for your extraordinary commitment to help the youngest members of our community!
Keith and Linda Monda surrounded by the children who received swim lessons. 
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Summer Camp Success    The staff at Bobby Jones Golf Club just wrapped up another successful summer of youth golf camps.  All three sessions were sold out with 12 students in each camp receiving instruction from one of our on-site PGA professionals.

Golf is a recreational activity for all ages, and it's a good way to combine exercise with enjoying the outdoors.  We're pleased so many youngsters are interested in learning more about this great pastime at our historic municipal golf course.  We hope to see these youngsters playing at Bobby Jones soon.  Congratulations to our staff for another excellent round of summer camps!
Youngsters working on their putting skills this week during the
last youth golf camp of the summer.

Bobby Jones Golf Club - 4 Mile Races     The British Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club was temporarily transformed into a race course last Friday night as 125 runners braved the heat and humidity
The start of the 4 mile race at Bobby Jones. 
to participate in the 'I Will Run For Beer' race.  It was a competitive 4 mile run, with the route staged along the edge of the British Course. 

The event went so well, the Run 941 runners will be back at Bobby Jones later this month.  On August 29th, the 'Bacon Run' (4 miles and 2 miles) will be held at the American Course. For more information visit the Run 941 website:

It's nice to see different activities taking place at Bobby Jones, particularly during the traditionally slower, hot summer months.


Upcoming Events 

SRQ Serenity in Motion Dance 
Bayfront Community Center    
  Sun., August 16 
10 a.m. - Noon

Wedding Expo - Bridal Fair   
Municipal Auditorium
Sun., August 16
Noon - 4 p.m.

Folk Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Wed., August 19
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 
Senior Ballroom Dancing

Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., August 20
10 a.m. - Noon

Scottish Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., August 20
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. 
Free Outdoor Concert

John Cleese and Eric Idle
John Cleese and Eric Idle will be at the Van Wezel on Oct. 2.

Fri., October 2 - 7:30 p.m.

Shen Yun Orchestra 
Tues., October 13 - 7:30 p.m. 

Rick Springfield
Thurs., Oct. 15 - 8 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
Tickets are on sale now for Rick Springfield on Oct. 15.

Thurs., November 19 - 8 p.m.

Craig Ferguson:  The New Deal Tour
Tues., December 1 - 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.

Masters of Illusion - Believe the Impossible
Thurs., February 4, 2016 - 7:30 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

Today marks the 70th anniversary of V-J Day.  To honor and remember the brave young men who lost their lives during WWII and to commemorate the end of the war, a ceremony was held this morning (Fri., August 14) at Unconditional Surrender along our beautiful Bayfront, where Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell on behalf of the entire City Commission proclaimed it 'Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive Day' in Sarasota.  In this week's 'Sarasota Scene', resident photographer Norm Schimmel takes us there.

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