From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 21, 2015
The rainy weather we experienced for awhile has moved through, being replaced with the hot, sultry summer days we're more accustomed to in Sarasota.  In fact, it's so steamy, it's tempting to seek a cool sea breeze at the beach and take a dip -- the very scene we encountered recently at South Lido Beach.


  • Community Workshop 15-CW-17
    Tues., August 25 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Newtown Citizen Historic Taskforce Community Workshop
    Tues., August 25 - 6 p.m.
    Robert L. Taylor Community Complex
  • Firefighters' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Wed., August 26 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., August 26 - 1:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., August 26 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Bobby Jones Golf Club Study Committee
    Thurs., August 27 - 4 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Maintenance Mech II
Parking Garage Attendant
Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
  Treatment Plant Operator Apprentice       

Homeless Update

For those tracking the homeless issue and the ongoing conversations between the City Commission and County Board of Commissioners, we'd like to provide you with the latest communication between the two legislative bodies.  To see the July 1st letter the County Commission sent to the City click here and to see the City Commission's response from August 19 click here. 

As the City moves forward on creating partnerships and funding for permanent housing, the County is prioritizing short term sheltering and jail diversion options.  We will keep you posted on our progress.  

This Week's Items to Know:
First Street Improvements - Work Starts Aug. 24   Another major downtown improvement project will start next Monday, August 24 -- and this one will be along the First Street corridor.  Stretching from U.S. 41 to Pineapple Avenue, First Street will be redesigned to make it more appealing to pedestrians.  The sidewalks will be widened and the street itself will be narrowed, encouraging more foot traffic and slower vehicle traffic.  Trees and landscaping will be added as well as brick pavers.  A significant aspect of the project will be the undergrounding of utilities, which will create an aesthetically pleasing environment, plus one that is less dangerous during and after severe weather events. 
Top: First Street now.  Bottom:  An artist's rendering depicting  
First Street as a narrower road with wider sidewalks.

The construction work will be done in phases by Jon F. Swift Construction starting at U.S. 41 and heading east.  It's important to note that while First Street will be open to traffic, it will be in one direction.  At the start of the project, westbound only traffic will be allowed.  Then, as the work proceeds, the traffic pattern will switch to eastbound vehicles only.

These improvements are part of the Downtown Master Plan 2020 and will help make it more inviting for people to stroll through downtown.  We encourage everyone to be patient as we work to make our special community even more attractive for residents and visitors. 

The construction is scheduled to continue through January 2016.  For regular updates and to review the plans, visit and click on the construction hard hat icon on the homepage.

New Observation Deck     A new observation deck is now available for public use at Centennial Park adjacent to the 10th Street boat ramp.  Like the wooden pedestrian bridges that were just
The observation deck at
Centennial Park was replaced. 
replaced on Lido Key, the wood deck had become deteriorated after being exposed to the elements on Sarasota Bay for decades. Now, a new deck with manufactured material is in place and ready for use. 

Last year, you may recall, the Public Works Department replaced the four observation decks near the Van Wezel.  This was the last observation deck which needed to be replaced. So, should you find yourself in the area, look for it and enjoy a pleasant respite on the bay.

SRQ Daily - Regular Guest Column   I'm pleased to report I've accepted an invitation from SRQ Daily to write a monthly guest column about my thoughts on the City.  These musings
My first guest column will appear
 in SRQ Daily tomorrow (Aug. 22). 
will appear in the SRQ Daily: Saturday Perspectives Edition on the fourth Saturday of each month.  My inaugural column is scheduled to appear in tomorrow's edition and I'll discuss our evolving city. 

SRQ Daily is an e-newspaper associated with SRQ Magazine, a respected media outlet in Sarasota and read by many.  I look forward to providing my City perspective in Saturday Perspectives.

A subscription to SRQ Daily is free or you can find the content posted on the SRQ Magazine website.

School Starts - Aug.  24   We're encouraging drivers to plan ahead for the first day of school next Monday, August 24.  Our Sarasota Police Department will have a visible presence at and near school zones, to help remind drivers to slow down and watch out for children.  The speed limit in school zones is 15 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.  And, remember:  when the red lights on a school bus are flashing you must stop.  The only time you do not have to stop is when you're traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus on a divided highway with a median. 

Parents, school crossing guards and bus drivers encourage everyone to be prepared for the start of school.  SPD Partnership Policing Communications Coordinator Genevieve Judge produced a video about back to school safety which you can watch below.

YouTube:  SPD Back to School Safety 
Blue + You = Back to School Shopping   About two dozen children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota are more prepared for the start of the school year after going on a shopping spree with several of our SPD officers.  Each received a $100 Target gift card from a philanthropist (who wishes to remain anonymous), then the kids were paired with a police officer to pick out items for school, including clothes, backpacks, and all kinds of fun writing and drawing supplies.

Thank you to the generous anonymous donor -- and to our police officers who had a good time helping these youngsters.  We wish the children the best of luck this school year!
Top (left): Amber McDonough and Eli Hauagabook with Officer Dominic Harris; Jamarion Summers and Jarvis Hodo with Chief Bernadette DiPino  Bottom (left):  Gianna Hall and Adrielle Langston with Officer Sheldon Cantrell;  Mykeia Johnson and Areana Ramos with Lt. Lori Jaress.


Upcoming Events 

Gem & Jewelry Show & Sale 
Municipal Auditorium
Fri. - Sun., August 21-23 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Folk Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Wed., August 26
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 
Senior Ballroom Dancing

Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., August 27
10 a.m. - Noon

Scottish Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., August 27
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 
Friday Fest starts at 5 p.m. tonight (Aug. 21)

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. 

Beauty and the Beast
Wed., October 14 - 8 p.m.

Rick Springfield
Thurs., October 15 - 8 p.m.

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

Lewis Black:  The Rant is Due:  Part Deux
Fri., November 13 - 8 p.m.
Tickets are on sale for Rick Springfield
on Oct. 15. 

Straight No Chaser
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

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