From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 28, 2015
School is back in session!  There was so much activity on the first day of school it warrants not one but two photos of the week.   Many Sarasota Police officers, like Captain Kevin Stiff seen above at Southside Elementary, greeted students and even gave away some goodies, including prized SPD pencils.  And, District 3 City Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie was spotted at Alta Vista Elementary handing out treats and expressing her appreciation to bus drivers, teachers and all those who help the school day run smoothly for our children.  We hope everyone had a great first week of school!


  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., August 31 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop 15-CW-20
    Tues., September 1 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., September 2 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Community Workshop 15-CW-19
    Thurs., September 3 - 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.
Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
  Windows System Administrator

This Week's Items to Know:
RLTCC Multi-Purpose Field - Preps Underway   A significant step was taken this week in moving toward building the much anticipated multi-purpose athletic field at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.  Since
A large crane was used to lift the light poles
out of the ground. 
the facility opened almost four years ago, the City has planned to construct a soccer and football field on the property with a concession stand and restrooms.  To prepare for the construction, a large crane arrived at the facility this week and seven of the eight existing light poles at the field were removed.

An inactive osprey nest was located on top of one of the light poles.  Since ospreys are a state protected bird, City staff consulted with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and was granted a 'Migratory Bird Nest Removal' permit to relocate the nest to the other side of the field.  The State would have allowed the City to build a new nest, but the City is going above and beyond and physically moving the inactive nest --  twigs, branches, leaves and all.  

The relocation should be completed next week and we'll have a full report for you in the next edition of Weekly Briefs.  A big thank you to Public Works Project Manager Neil Gaines for being especially diligent with this project and ensuring our urban wildlife continues to have a welcoming environment in Sarasota.       
First Street - Improvements Started     If you've been near First Street and Cocoanut Avenue, you've noticed the street improvement project is underway.  It started this week with crews digging up the south side of the road in preparation for underground utility work.

It's important to note that you can still drive, walk and bicycle on First Street between Cocoanut and U.S. 41.  Right now, the City's contractor, Jon F. Swift Construction, is maintaining westbound only traffic.  That will shift to eastbound only as the project progresses.  We appreciate everyone's patience as we narrow the street, widen the sidewalks and create an area that pedestrians will find more inviting to stroll through our changing downtown. 
Construction crews working on the south side of First Street between Cocoanut Ave. and U.S. 41.  The north side of the street is open to westbound only traffic right now.

Orange/Main Roundabout - Update    Our contractor for the Orange Ave./Main St. roundabout project, Jon F. Swift Construction, is about one month into the project, and while it's challenging work, it's going well.  A significant 12-inch water main has been successfully connected at several points, and this week
Pouring concrete at the site earlier this week. 
crews continued to pour concrete for new curbs and driveways.  Underground utility work with the stormwater system will occur over the next few weeks. 

To help keep the project on schedule, crews have been working weekends and during rainstorms. The immediate goal is to have the intersection partially reopened at the end of September. 

Please continue to support our local businesses during this temporary inconvenience.  Reminder:  FREE valet parking is available at Orange Ave. and State St.

Newtown Conservation Historic District    An initiative to research, record and preserve the 100-year history of the Newtown community is officially underway! 

A 7-member task force appointed by the City Commission met this week with the community and a consultant to discuss the project.  Mayor Willie Shaw also was on hand to help provide an overview and to welcome the group.  We're very pleased with the turnout and interest of Newtown residents who want to participate in the project and share their family histories.
Residents attending the first Newtown Conservation
Historic District workshop this week.

Over the next several months, interviews will be conducted with residents about their memories and knowledge of the history, culture and traditions in Newtown.  That oral history will be transcribed and ultimately included with photos, films, documents and other items, in a final written report expected to be produced by late Winter 2015.  A historic Newtown map also will be generated.  

Recording the history of Newtown and ensuring it is archived and available for generations to come is important, particularly as this predominantly African-American community celebrates more than one century of being a neighborhood. 

For more information about the project contact the City's historic preservationist, Dr. Clifford Smith:  941-365-2200 ext. 4361.

Electrify the Island -  Sept. 12  For those with an interest in electric vehicles and sustainable energy, mark your calendars!  The annual Electrify the Island expo is scheduled for Sat., September 12 at Mote Marine Laboratory. 

EVs and exhibits will be on display from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., in
Electrify the Island will be Sept. 12. 
conjunction with the celebration of National Drive Electric Week.  And, the City's Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes and Parking Manager Mark Lyons both will be there to discuss EV options and sustainable technologies. 

In addition, two panel discussions are scheduled.  One will provide an overview of electric cars ("EV 101") and the other will discuss EV charging methods at multi-family dwellings, such as condos and apartments.  More info can be found by clicking here.  We'll look forward to seeing you there!   

Upcoming Events 
  Folk Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Wed., September 2
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 
Senior Ballroom Dancing

Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., September 3
10 a.m. - Noon

Scottish Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., September 4
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 
Van Wezel seats

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 just added a second show.  They'll be at the Van Wezel on Oct. 1 & 2.

Thurs., October 1 - 7:30 p.m.
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.
Masters of Illusion - Believe the Impossible will be at the Van Wezel on Feb. 4. 

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 will perform Feb. 27.


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