From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
May 13, 2016
Photo of the Week
This is an eagle eye view of the future Hotel Curio construction site, located at Palm Ave. and Cocoanut Ave.  in downtown.  Earlier this week, Cocoanut Ave. between First St. and Palm Ave. was closed as Phase I of construction begins with infrastructure improvements including installing a new water main, redirecting the storm water system and realigning a portion of Cocoanut Ave.  The road is expected to be closed until late June.  Sarasota continues to be a popular destination for recreational travelers and, increasingly, business travelers.  In the background, you can see the construction tower cranes for The Vue and Embassy Suites. 


  • General Employees' Pension Board
    Mon., May 16 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., May 16 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., May 18 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Employee Retirement Account Cmte
    Thurs., May 19 - 10 a.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., May 19 - 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.  

Arborist II
Computer Support Specialist II
Electronic Traffic Signal Tech
Facility Maintenance Tech
Golf Course Attendant
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Mechanic II
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
Spray Tech
Utilities Capital Projects Manager   


This Week's Items to Know:
"Ban the Box" - New Job Application    We're pleased to report we have voluntarily "banned the box" on the initial employment application for the City of Sarasota.  We no longer ask applicants about their criminal history at the very start of the hiring process. 

Known across the country as "Ban the Box", the City of Sarasota is one of the latest municipalities to join this movement along with other Florida cities including Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando. 

This change will help us cast a wider net for qualified candidates.  Historically, one incident can potentially have a negative impact on an otherwise well qualified individual.  When a person has paid their dues to society for a past mistake, it shouldn't continue to jeopardize them from securing good employment opportunities throughout their lives.

The City will still address criminal history and conduct position-related background checks --  but, toward the end of the hiring process as applicants become known.  Several criteria have been established through case law which the City uses to make determinations for hiring eligibility.

Mayor Willie Shaw led the effort for this change with unanimous support from his fellow City Commissioners.  We appreciate their progressive stance in this area. 

The Human Resources Department currently is in transition implementing this new process.  "Ban the Box" is effective for positions posted on or after May 1, 2016.      
MLK Way - Resurfacing Starts May 17    If you haven't been on Dr. MLK, Jr. Way recently I encourage you to do so in June -- and see firsthand the noticeable and impressive revitalization.  The new library and sound stage being constructed by Ringling College are well underway.  And, the City is wrapping up the streetscape improvement project.  New landscape, bulb-outs, on-street parking and brick paver crosswalks are transforming the corridor.  Next, we'll mill and pave MLK -- essentially making it a new road.

This is one of the bulb-outs with new trees and vegetation created during the streetscape project on MLK Way.  The road is scheduled to be milled and paved starting May 17.

Milling is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 17.  The project will start at Central Ave. and head eastbound to U.S. 301.  Then, the crews will turnaround and head back to Central.

The actual paving portion of the project is expected to begin Monday, May 23 and will take at least a week.  So, if all goes well, weather permitting, MLK should be resurfaced by the end of the month.

Please note:  During the resurfacing, 2-way traffic will be maintained with one lane open at a time intermittently.  Flag people will be on site to help with traffic control.  If you can avoid driving that stretch of road for the next couple of weeks, you may save yourself time.

The next piece of the North Sarasota revitalization should be the  completion of the Sarasota Housing Authority's latest phase of Janie's Garden.  Located just south of MLK and east of Central Ave., the development is in the final stages.  It's attractive and well done with 72 units.  And soon, construction will begin on Sarasota Memorial Hospital's new health clinic on MLK Way.    

The Newtown community has pursued the renaissance of their historic neighborhood with energy and fortitude. It's an exciting time and we expect these ongoing community investments will translate into positive economic growth for business owners and residents in the area. 

Pharmacy Coming to Downtown  -  One of the key ingredients to a successful downtown residential area is easy access to a pharmacy.  Residents need a drugstore, within easy walking or bicycling distance, to have prescriptions filled.  We're pleased to report one
A pharmacy, Age Vital, will relocate to downtown Sarasota soon. 
is coming to the downtown core soon!

Age Vital announced it is relocating from St. Armands Circle to 1618 Main Street -- just east of Orange Ave.   We don't know when the opening will occur, but the new location currently is under renovation.  Age Vital, we understand, is a compound pharmacy which works with physicians to prepare specific medications for a patient. 

With many people currently living downtown, and 3,000 more expected over the next two years, we're excited downtown residents soon will have the option to leave their car behind and stay close to home when they need pharmacy related goods.

Popular Annual Finance Report   The Finance Department's award winning Popular Annual Finance Report is hot off the presses and available for public review!

The 2015 PAFR is a streamlined version of the City's Comprehensive Annual Report, taking
Cover of the 2015 Popular Annual
Finance Report. 
approximately 200 pages and trimming it down to just 10.  It's designed for those who are not finance experts.  So, it's written in layman's terms with helpful graphics and captivating photos.  To read the PAFR click here.

In this information age, we've grown accustomed to good organizations sharing information and being transparent.  But, the best organizations take complex, detailed information and break it down into understandable terms.  And, that's what the PAFR does -- with the City's financial position, accounting, capital assets and long-term debt and investments. 

Finance Director John Lege and his team continue to do an outstanding job.  Congratulations, especially, to Susan Dodd, Assistant to the Finance Director, who for the past three years has done a yeoman's job producing this first rate, award winning document.  Well done! 
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Summer Camp  It's that time of year when parents and grandparents are gathering ideas for summer camp.  How about a golf camp at our historic municipal golf course?  We have two different offerings:

* Drive, Chip & Putt Boot CampMay 21 & 28  -  This is a pre-cursor to the PGA Drive, Chip & Putt qualifier on June 4.  Children ages 7-15 are invited to participate. Our on-site PGA professionals will work with students and help them sharpen their basic golf skills in preparation for the DCP competition. The boot camp is free for children who will compete in DCP.

* Junior ClinicsJune 21-23; July 12-14; August 9-11  These are three separate clinics for young golfers.   Each clinic is 3-days and focuses on golf etiquette, and the mechanics of driving, chipping and putting.  Each session runs 9 a.m. - noon, with a kid-friendly lunch.  To promote a quality learning experience, each clinic is limited to just 12 children, ages 8-18.  The registration fee is $100 per student.   Click here for more information.

Junior clinic participants walking a course at
Bobby Jones Golf Club in 2014.

To learn more about either the Junior Clinics or the Drive, Chip & Putt Boot Camp, please contact the Bobby Jones Golf Club shop:  941-954-4163.

Upcoming Events 
Jazz in the Park 
Sat., May 14
Fredd Atkins Park
Noon - 2 p.m.

Harvey Milk Festival 
Sat., May 14 
2 p.m. - 11 p.m.  
Selby Five Points Park

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a current list of shows. For more information visit 

Friday Fest:  Koko Ray & The Keepers 
Fri., June 10 - 5 p.m.
MAKS & VAL - Our Way
Thurs., June 16 - 8 p.m.
MAKS & VAL will be at the Van Wezel on
June 16. 


Friday Fest:  Jah Movement
Fri., July 29 - 5 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Rebelheart
Fri., August 26 - 5 p.m.

Brian Wilson
Sun., Sept. 11 - 7 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Dr. Dave Band
Fri., September 23 - 5 p.m.
Brian Wilson will perform at the Van Wezel Sept. 11.

Celtic Thunder
Sat., Oct. 15 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular
Sat., October 22 - 7:30 p.m.

ZZ Top
Mon., October 31 - 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets over the phone call 941-953-3368 or stop by the Box Office at 777 N.Tamiami Trail. 

For a complete schedule of events, 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