From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 29, 2016

Photo of the Week
No doubt about it -- it's the dog days of summer!  When we caught up with Gipsian Salazar, a State College of Florida student, with Sam a terrier mix, at Bayfront Park earlier this week, it was a record breaking day of heat -- 97 degrees!  Gipsian was encouraging Sam to drink water while resting in the shade.  Gipsian reminds us, during these hot days, to make sure your pets are hydrated and not locked in a car.  And, of course, that goes for humans as well!


  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., August 2 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Cmte
    Wed., August 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Community Workshop
    Wed., August 3 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.  

Computer Support Specialist II
Facility Maintenance Tech
GIS Coordinator
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part-time)
Lifeguard I
Manager, Maintenance Services
Parking Enforcement Specialist
Plans Examiner
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
Spray Tech
Treatment Plant Operator C
Utilities Capital Projects Manager


This Week's Items to Know:
Osprey Ave. Bridge - Closure Starts Mon., Aug. 1    Following morning rush hour, on Monday, August 1st at 10 a.m., Osprey Ave. from the Hudson Bayou bridge to Hillview St. will be closed to traffic as it becomes a necessary construction site for Phase I of the Lift Station 87 infrastructure improvement project.

Please note:  Local traffic will be allowed between Hillview and Bahia Vista -- but no thru traffic.

We hosted a public meeting earlier this week to explain the detour route and gather feedback.  Neighborhood cut through traffic is a concern for us all.  Traffic enforcement will be stepped up in the area to monitor speed, stop sign compliance, and cut through traffic.  To help with traffic calming, several speed tables will be installed in adjacent neighborhoods.  Also, well in advance of the road closure, electronic message signs have been placed in the area alerting drivers about the pending detour. 

We plan to host a follow up meeting in the fall to hear from residents about what they're experiencing with traffic and what modifications, if any, need to be made. 

While Osprey Ave. is planned to be closed for 12 months, we're cautiously optimistic the contractor will successfully install a new water main and microtunnel under the bayou sooner --  and the road can reopen sooner.

We have a website dedicated specifically to the Lift Station 87 project:  Please visit that site for updates.  Also, there's a specific phone line to contact a team member regarding questions and/or concerns:  941-356-8071.

We appreciate your patience as we make a necessary upgrade to a major portion of the City's infrastructure which transports approximately one-third of the community's wastewater. 

The Vue - Topping Out Ceremony   This week, Mayor Willie Shaw, Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown and I attended the topping out ceremony for the Westin hotel and the Vue project. A topping out ceremony is significant for a construction project because it commemorates that workers have finished building upward and will now focus on the interior.  And, in this case, that means the construction tower crane at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream will be removed very soon.

On any given day, 400 trades people have been working on site.  And, that's how many attended the topping out ceremony -- what an impressive sight in terms of jobs.

Approximately 400 construction workers attended the topping out ceremony. 

Since Kast Construction started work on the project on July 3, 2014,  approximately 2,000 workers have been on site logging about 720,000 hours.  We're told by the time the project is finished, 1 million labor hours will have been earned and paid.

The development consists of 141 residential units and 255 hotel rooms.  The project director expects the Westin hotel to open in February or March 2017.      

Janie's Garden III - Grand Opening    The entire City Commission and I were honored to be part of the grand opening celebration of Janie's Garden III in Newtown this week.  In partnership with the City, Sarasota County, state and federal governments, and private entities, the Sarasota Housing Authority developed this attractive mixed-income residential complex.

As with the other two phases, these 72 units are affordable for
One of the new, attractive buildings at Janie's Garden III. 
individuals and families, and feature 1, 2, 3, and 4 bedroom units that are attractive and energy efficient.  Through sheer determination, North Sarasota residents, led by Valerie Buchand and others, worked tirelessly years ago to highlight the unsafe living conditions at the former Janie Poe housing project -- and successfully replaced it with this attractive development.     

Not  only is Janie's Garden a development we can all be proud of, the affordable housing component is critical as we work to revitalize the Dr. MLK, Jr. Way corridor.  The Ringling School of Art + Design, is building a sound stage and library just a few blocks away.  Also, Sarasota Memorial Hospital soon will be constructing a new medical clinic within walking distance of Janie's Garden.

If you haven't visited Dr. MLK, Jr. Way recently, I encourage you to do so -- and see firsthand the inspiring neighborhood and commercial renewal that is occurring.   
Ribbon cutting ceremony for Janie's Garden III. 
SPD - Community Outreach   Thank you to all who took the time earlier this week to attend the NAACP-SPD community conversation at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.  It was a beneficial and important dialogue between residents and SPD Chief Bernadette DiPino, who has done a commendable job building and nurturing police-citizen partnerships. 

Those in attendance were encouraged to consider registering for the SPD Citizens' Academy to learn more about our partnership policing philosophy and what is required of police officers and the many challenges they face in the course of a day.  Attendees also were reminded that due to past issues, the City now has two citizen police oversight committees which review issues and policies.

An unexpected highlight of the evening was the heroic efforts of several SPD officers who saved an attendee's life after he collapsed
The community room at Robert L. Taylor Community
Complex was filled with residents for the
NAACP community meeting with SPD.
at the beginning of the meeting and stopped breathing.  Using their CPR training and a defibrillator, police officers applied chest compressions and restored the man's breathing while awaiting paramedics.  We're told the patient is recovering and is thankful to be alive, due to the actions of our well trained officers.

As a show of support for fellow employees, the last two Fridays at the City of Sarasota were designated as Wear Blue Day.  Employees were encouraged to wear a blue shirt or ribbon to show support for SPD and note that, along with all citizens, we're part of the same team to make Sarasota a great and safe place to live, visit and play. Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg produced a brief video, which is a heartfelt message from City employees to their fellow employees at SPD:

YouTube Video:  "Wear Blue Day" 

Blue + You - Movie Night @ RLTCC   The Sarasota Police Department will host another Blue + You Free Movie Night -- but, this time, at a brand new venue:  the new multi-purpose artificial turf field at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. 
'Zootopia' will be shown during the free
Movie Night on Aug. 13.


The family-friendly movie 'Zootopia' will be shown on a big screen on the field Sat., August 13 at 8:30 p.m.  The field will open at 7:30 p.m.and you're encouraged to bring a blanket or chair to enjoy the show.  Once again, Culver's will provide complimentary frozen treats.  Free drinks also will be provided. 

This will be one of the first events at the field before the official grand opening in September. We hope you come out and enjoy the movie -- and check out the newest sporting venue in the community. 

Upcoming Events 

Folk Dance
Bayfront Community Center 
Wed., August 3 
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through 2016. For more information visit    
Friday Fest:  Jah Movement
Fri., July 29 - 5 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Rebelheart
Fri., August 26 - 5 p.m.
 Jah Movement will be at the Van Wezel for a FREE Friday Fest on Fri., July 29.


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

Friday Fest:  Dr. Dave Band
Fri., September 23 - 5 p.m.

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

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

Mary Chapin Carpenter
Fri., October 28 - 8 p.m.

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

Mannheim Steamroller
Fri., November 18 - 8 p.m.
Mary Chapin Carpenter will be at the Van Wezel on Oct. 28.


Jim Brickman
Tues., November 29 - 7:30 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 10
Fame The Musical
Wed., December 7 - 7 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 10

Oak Ridge Boys
Sat., December 10 - 8 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 10

Beach Boys 'Christmas'
Mon., December 12 - 7:30 p.m.

Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Tues., December 27 - 8 p.m.
Wed., December 28 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Thurs., December 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

42nd Street
Fri., December 30 - 8 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 10

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