From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
October 14, 2016

Photo of the Week
Visit Sarasota County hosted a fun Instagram Photo Meetup this week  as a way to promote Sarasota being a finalist for Coastal Living's "Happiest Seaside Town" in America.  (Update on that below.) A small group of avid social media photographers met at the Visitors Center, then walked to the Opera House where they were given a special behind the scenes tour, followed by complimentary happy hour at Aloft and a tour of the fun, new hotel at Ringling Blvd. & S. Palm Ave.  Participants were encouraged to post their photos on Instagram and use the hashtags #CLHappyTown and #MySarasota.  We tagged along and posted photos to the City of Sarasota Instagram and Twitter accounts during the tour -- and we caught Beth Roth enjoying the moment in the balcony of the Opera House.   VSC is working on hosting another photo meetup in the near future. 

  • General Employees' Pension Board of Trustees
    Mon., October 17 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., October 17 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Cmte
    Wed., October 19 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.  

Application Developer
Arborist I
Commission Reporter
Crew Leader I
Engineering Technician III (NDS)
Facility Maintenance Tech
Golf Course Attendant
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Refuse Equipment Operator
Senior Pension Analyst
Senior Records Specialist
Sustainability Program Educator


This Week's Items to Know:
Update:  Happiest Seaside Town  Voting for the Coastal Living "Happiest Seaside Town" in America contest remains on pause due to Hurricane Matthew.  Sarasota recently was named 1 of the 10 happiest seaside towns by Coastal Living and top honors will be decided by online voting.

Visit Sarasota County and the City continue to share information about the poll, in preparation for when voting resumes.  No word on when that will happen, but it's expected to be soon. We'll keep you posted!  In the meantime, visit to learn more about CL's "Happiest Seaside Town".  
'Great Places in Florida' Finalist   In addition to the 'Happiest Seaside Town' recognition, we're also proud to announce Downtown Sarasota was selected by the preeminent professional urban planning organization as a top finalist for the 'Great Places in Florida' award!  The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association reviewed 37 entries for the award -- and Downtown Sarasota is one of five places to make the short list!

To be a finalist for this award is a distinct honor, particularly since entries were judged on professional planning criteria including sense of place, walkability, access to parks, historic structures, and cultural arts. The Sunshine State has many popular locations and we're honored Downtown Sarasota is considered a 'Great Place' by professionals who are the experts in planning and cultivating a welcoming environment.

While we made the top 5, the winner is a People's Choice Award decided through online voting.  Voting is open now through next Fri., October 21 at    One vote is allowed per computer, tablet or smart phone.  As you can imagine, we're encouraging everyone to vote for Downtown Sarasota!

Kudos to our team that worked very quickly to assemble a compelling submission with attractive photos showing why Downtown Sarasota is a great place.
A collage of the three photos submitted as part of the contest entry. 
New Finance Director - Kelly Strickland   We'd like to officially welcome Kelly Strickland as the City's new Finance Director!  Kelly is a familiar face at City Hall, having served as Deputy Finance Director
Kelly Strickland is the first female Finance Director for the City of Sarasota. 

for the past 7 years.

With Kelly's knowledge of municipal finances and preparing the City's $200 million annual budget, we're confident she has the skill set and experience to provide continuity and leadership for the finance team.  Kelly is replacing John Lege who is now the Assistant City Manager.

In the City's century-plus history, Kelly is the very first woman to serve in this role.  We're thrilled to have her at the helm, providing further diversity to our City staff while continuing the City's legacy of excellence with government finance management.            

Marty Rappaport - 29 Years of Service    Marty Rappaport, who founded the St. Armands Business Improvement District, announced this week he is stepping down as a BID Board Member, after 29 years of outstanding service and progress in Sarasota, including St. Armands Circle.  Known for his energy, enthusiasm and positive thinking, Marty and his wife plan to continue residing in Sarasota.

From the time he moved to the area in the late 1980s, Marty was
Marty Rappaport has served on the St. Armands BID since it s inception in 2001.  

involved in the community -- first as president of a neighborhood association, then as one of the original founders of the St. Armands Commercial Landowners Association.  He also served on the "Good Bridge Committee", which supported the controversial new expansion bridge, now known as the Ringing Bridge.  Perhaps, though, he's best known for his unwavering commitment to St. Armands Circle, serving for the past 15 years as a founding member of the St. Armands Business Improvement District.  The supplemental funding provided by the BID and invested into additional landscaping etc. has helped set the district apart and make it one of the crown jewels in our special city and a top tourist destination.  Most recently, Marty helped shepherd approval of a significant capital improvement project, including a new parking structure at St. Armands.  Thank you, Marty, for your dedication to making our community the best it can be.

Applications are now being accepted to fill Marty's seat on the St. Armands BID Board of Directors.  To be considered, applicants must be a property owner (subject to ad valorem taxes) in the district.  To download an application click here.    

National Night Out   Thanks to all who came out to National Night Out at beautiful North Water Tower Park earlier this week.  It was another great community event with 100-150 people attending, making connections with police officers and socializing in a fun setting -- the very essence of National Night Out.

A demonstration was given by the SPD K-9 Unit (invariably a community favorite), children and adults had the chance to see public safety equipment up close -- and delicious desserts were shared by neighbors.  Photos are posted on the SPD Facebook page.

Thanks to the Bayou Oaks Neighborhood Association for taking the reins this year and coordinating the event with SPD.  Congratulations to everyone for a great night out!

Making new friends at National Night Out.     
Bobby Jones Golf Club - American Reopens Oct. 29  The new greens on the American Course are taking root well enough that staff is planning a grand reopening later this month. The new, lush greens Bobby Jones Logo will be unveiled Sat., October 29 when the Men's Better Ball Open is scheduled -- so there should be a lot of attention and excitement for the big unveiling.  

To celebrate, special grand reopening rates will be offered the weekend of October 29-30.  Both Saturday and Sunday, golfers will be able to enjoy 18 holes riding for an afternoon rate of just $21.50 (plus tax), with a complimentary 12 ounce beer or fountain drink at the course restaurant, Libby's Greenseide.  This offer will be good for both the American and British Courses.  Hope to see you as we celebrate the new greens at our historic municipal golf course! 

The new grass on the #7 green on the American Course.  
City Manager Open Office Hours - Nov. 8   When possible, I like to hold open office hours away from the City Hall campus, in a more relaxed setting, to talk with people about community issues. 

The next City Manager Open Office Hours event will be held Tues.,
The next City Manager Open Office Hours
will be held Nov. 8.

November 8 from 3 p.m.- 5 p.m. at the Newtown Redevelopment Office, 1782 Dr. MLK, Jr. Way. 

This is an open invitation to talk one-on-one about any City issues on your mind. I look forward to a productive two hours talking with community members about where we are as a city and the direction we're taking with many issues, including partnership policing, redevelopment of the Marian Anderson site and moving forward with possibly creating a Parks & Rec District to ensure parks receive the care they need and residents of all ages have safe places to recreate.  Hope to see you November 8! 

Upcoming Events 

Run 941
Lido Beach - Ben Franklin Drive 
Sat., October 15 
7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Yoga for ALS 
Payne Park 
Sat., October 15  
9 a.m. - Noon

Vintage & Collectibles Fair 
Municipal Auditorium
Sat., October 15 & Sun., October 16
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Pride Fest  
J.D. Hamel Park
Sat., October 15
Noon - 5 p.m.

Morton's Firehouse Chili Cook-Off 
Southside Village - Hillview Avenue
Sun., October 16
2 p.m. - 5 p.m.


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through 2016. For more information visit    

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.
Decades Rewind will be at the Van Wezel on Nov. 19.


Capitol Steps
Tues., November 1 - 8 p.m.

Mannheim Steamroller
Fri., November 18 - 8 p.m.

Decades Rewind
Sat., November 19 - 8 p.m.

Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2016
Fri., November 25 - 8 p.m.

Tosh Saves the World
Sat., November 26 - 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Melissa Etheridge's Holiday Trio
Sun., November 27 - 7 p.m.

Jim Brickman
Tues., November 29 - 7:30 p.m.
Fame The Musical
Wed., December 7 - 7 p.m.

Oak Ridge Boys' Christmas
Sat., December 10 - 8 p.m.
Daniel Tosh will be at the Van Wezel on Nov. 26.


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

Garrison Keillor
Tues., December 13 - 8 p.m.

The Sarasota Ballet - George Balanchine's Jewels
Fri., December 16 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., December 17 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Ballet Website

A Christmas Carol
Wed., December 21 - 8 p.m.
Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Tues., December 27 - 7 p.m.
Wed., December 28 - 7 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.

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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager