From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
November 2, 2018

This is a case where a picture is worth a thousand words!  This is just some of the debris -- including tires, bottles and large vegetation -- captured by a new eco-friendly infrastructure improvement to the City's stormwater drainage system.  Believe it not, all this would have flowed directly into Sarasota Bay.   Thankfully, this new system prevented it from going to the Bay.  Much more below in Weekly Briefs on this significant improvement  that's working as designed:  filtering nutrients and capturing trash to improve the overall health of Sarasota Bay.


  • City Commission
    Mon., November 5 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., November 6 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., November 7 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

Strides Toward a Healthier Sarasota Bay 

With a continued focus on the environment and health of Sarasota Bay, the City began a significant stormwater improvement project last April like no other or few others in the southwest Florida region.  Over the summer, a large system improvement, called a nutrient separating baffle box, was built beneath 10th Street west of Central Ave. And already it's kept a large amount of man-made and natural waste from going into the Bay! 
Here's how it works:  Nutrients are filtered into the bottom of a large metal box and solid items -- including everything from bottles, cans and even car tires -- are captured in a suspended cage-like device.  So, trash, pollutants and nutrients, including excess nitrogen (from yard waste) which is known to fuel red tide, are diverted away from Sarasota Bay.    
Constructing the nutrient separating baffle box.  The metal box in the center 
filters nutrients and captures solid waste.

This week, crews cleaned the baffle box for the first time since it went online three months ago.  And, the amount and kinds of waste captured was astounding.  To think all this trash would have been dumped into our precious Bay, home to hundreds of dolphins, manatees, fish and seabirds!   
With this new system, we expect 36-50 tons of waste and vegetation will be diverted from the Bay this year alone.  Fewer nutrients being deposited in the Bay will have a positive impact on the water quality and, according to the scientific experts at Mote Marine Laboratory, should help to reduce the duration and intensity of red tide. 
Through an existing interlocal agreement, Sarasota County manages the stormwater system in the City limits and will be responsible for cleaning the baffle box regularly.  By state permit, it must be cleaned
Debris captured in the new baffle box and diverted
from entering Sarasota Bay.

at least once a quarter, although based on the initial cleaning it may need more frequent attention.
You may notice a series of three metal panels built into the road on 10th Street.  These will serve as entry points for the maintenance crews.
This is a $1 million investment in the health of our environment funded equally by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Sarasota City/County stormwater assessments. 
The engineering and construction of this project was complex.    And, we applaud all involved who worked diligently to make it to the finish line.  Bravo!   
If you'd like to learn more about how a nutrient separating baffle box works, check out this video
Featured Job of the Week 


This Week's Items to Know:

Procurement - Minority Business Participation    Our City's Purchasing Division is going the extra mile to ensure that minority-owned enterprises have a fair chance to do business with us and that the wide range of City vendors is reflective of our diverse community. 

Tammy Spearman is the Purchasing Division's minority business liaison.

The division has been developing a comprehensive minority business procurement program, gathering data and best practices from other communities and studying the legal precedents and Florida Statutes that guide how local governments conduct business.  
Professional Buyer Tammy Spearman has been appointed as the division's liaison for minority-owned businesses. As part of her new role, Tammy will serve as the program's point person, making inquiries and conducting outreach to these business owners, encouraging their participation in bids whenever they qualify and tracking the results.

Although Tammy has been with the City for about a year and a half, she has accumulated about 30 years' experience in the procurement field, having previously worked in Hillsborough and Polk counties, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and interest in minority business participation.  
Newtown Community Cleanup    A big thank you to the solid waste crews in the Public Works Department and our Sustainability team who helped make the first annual Curb Appeal - Newtown Community Cleanup a success last weekend.
70 volunteers and four churches helped spruce up the community by
City arborist Don Ullom giving awa y trees during the cleanup.

trimming trees, cutting lawns, pulling weeds and picking up litter.  The City's solid waste crews efficiently canvassed the Newtown neighborhoods collecting an estimated  31.5 tons of waste  during the daylong event.  Impressive work!
City arborist Don Ullom  was on hand offering free fruit trees (lemon, lime and grapefruit) as part of the City's popular Community Canopy program.   Over 40 trees were given away to help beautify the area and grow our urban canopy.   
And, the Janie's Garden Youth Program and the Brotherhood of Men hosted their own curb appeal cleanup of the Janie's Garden property. 40 kids joined in and picked up litter and enjoyed lunch while learning about recycling from Waste Pro and City of Sarasota Sustainability.  
Congratulations to all involved with this community initiative!      
Mobility Day   The first-ever Mobility Day was held in downtown this week to encourage residents to consider safe alternative, sustainable modes of transportation from walking to bicycling to ridesharing and using mass transit.
Co-hosted by our Planning Department in partnership with Sarasota County and FDOT's Commuter Services program, the event was staged on the Lemon Avenue mall, adjacent to the SCAT transfer station, during lunchtime.
Mobility Day focused on safe, healthy transportation alternatives. 
Those who stopped by had the chance to learn why it's a good idea to have transportation choices and which one you use may vary day to day based on the travel distance, weather and traffic congestion.  Friends of the Legacy Trail were on hand explaining the importance of the Nov. 6 ballot initiative to connect the trail into downtown Sarasota.  And, of course, there were transporation-themed giveaways including many bike helmets to help keep our cycling community safe.
Thanks to Chief Transportation Planner Colleen McGue and Transportation Planner Megan Lui for their involvement with this important public awareness effort to help make our community as sustainable as posssible.
Crosswalk Art - Demonstration Program  Have you strolled across the new colorful crosswalk in downtown yet?   
A portion of the newly painted crosswalk in the 1500 block of Main Street.

Last Sunday, Careth Christine, a local artist and Ringling College of Art & Design grad painted the pedestrian crosswalk on Main Street near C'est La Vie and Cask & Ale.
This a small test project providing a visual of what artwork along a crosswalk could look and feel like. If you haven't seen it in person, we encourage you to do so and let us know your thoughts at: CityNews@SarasotaFL.Gov
For the past year, City staff contemplated appropriate locations for this demonstration project.  Right now, it's planned the crosswalk near Smokin' Joe's also will be painted by the same artist.  When more details are available we'll share in Weekly Briefs and on social media.   
Big Brothers Big Sisters Program     Last week, we welcomed an eager group of Booker High School students who were paired with City employees as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast's "Beyond School Walls" program.  Nine lucky young people were selected to participate and were matched with volunteer employees who may share a career interest.
The students heard from Assistant City Manager John Lege and Human Resources Director Stacie Mason, received a tour of City Hall and an overview of City departments and were treated to lunch. The student "Littles" and their "Bigs" will meet monthly for workplace mentoring, skills development and what we hope could be lifelong connections as they move forward with their academic and professional careers.  During lunch, I encouraged the students to consider a career in public service, perhaps beginning in one of our City departments. 
We'd like to thank Big Brothers Big Sisters and Booker High; the Gulf Coast Community Foundation for sponsoring this worthwhile community program; our Human Resources Department for its efforts to introduce local youth to the variety of career opportunities the City has to offer; and the volunteer employees giving their time to mentor this future generation of Sarasotans.
City employee volunteers, or "Bigs," are paired with "Littles," Booker High School students, as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast's "Beyond School Walls" mentoring program.
Blue + You = Movie Night    The SPD will host another fun, family friendly outdoor movie night tomorrow night, Saturday, November 3rd.  This time it will be The Emoji Movie!
The film will be shown on the west end lawn of the SPD
T he Emoji Movie will be shown Nov. 3rd for
Blue + You Movie Night.

Headquarters, 2099 Adams Lane.  The area will open at 5:30 p.m. for seating and the movie will start at 6:30 p.m.  Complimentary snacks and drinks will be available.  
Special thanks to 1st Street Credit Union, Regal Cinemas and Ringling College of Art & Design who are partnering with SPD for this community building event.   
With the cooler temps, it should be a beautiful night under the stars.  Hope to see you there! 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Lion King makes its premiere at the Van Wezel in March 2019 -- and tickets are now on sale!
To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen 
Tues., November 6 - 8 p.m.
Capitol Steps  
Wed., November 7 - 8 p.m.
Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock & Roll Part II 
Fri., November 9 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular Vol. 3 
Sat., November 10 - 7:30 p.m.
Young Guns of Country 2018
Sun., November 11 - 7 p.m.
Jim Brickman:  A Joyful Christmas will be at the Van Wezel Nov. 28. 
Stills & Collins 
Fri., November 16 - 8 p.m.
Sold out 
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 
Sat., November 17 -  2 p.m. & 8 p.m. 
Beyond Glory 
Mon., November 19 - 7:30 p.m. 
Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 
Fri., November 23 - 8 p.m.
KC and the Sunshine Band 
Sat., November 24 - 8 p.m. 
Black Violin 
Tues., November 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Jim Brickman:  A Joyful Christmas 
Wed., November 28 - 7:30 p.m. 
The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live  
Tues., December 11 - 7:30 p.m.
A Christmas Carol 
Sun., December 16 - 6 p.m.
On Your Feet will be at the Van Wezel  Dec. 26 - 30.

Itzhak Perlman: In The Fiddler's House 
Mon., December 17 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 7:30 p.m.
The Sound of Music 
Wed., December 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 20 -  2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker  
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
Sat., December 22 - 6:30 p.m.
On Your Feet! 
Wed., December 26 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., December 28 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., December 29 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 30 - 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

The Sweet Caroline Tour 
Mon., December 31 - 9 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

Time Reminders:  It's time to fall back one hour this weekend!  Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 4th at 2 a.m.  So, make sure you set your clocks back one hour -- and enjoy that extra hour! 
And, the new start time for City Commission meetings begins Monday the 5th.  The afternoon session will now start at 1:30 p.m.  No change to the evening session.  That will still begin at 6 p.m. 
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 CityNews@SarasotaFL.Gov 

Tom Barwin
City Manager