From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
December 9, 2016

Photo of the Week

As a thank you to our valued employees for their commitment and hard work  
throughout this busy year, the City's Employee Appreciation Committee hosted a  holiday luncheon this week.  It was a festive occasion with many employees, who  
may not see each other during the hectic work week, having a chance to break 
bread in  a beautiful setting -- the Van Wezel Grand Foyer right on Sarasota Bay.   
The holiday luncheon is a special event for employees -- and 400+ attended  
and expressed their gratitude for being appreciated including recognition from Commissioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman who joined the festivities.  A  
big thank you to the Employee Appreciation Committee for organizing this outstanding  
event and to Mary Bensel at the Van Wezel for offering the use of this incredible community treasure.  Happy Holidays!  


  • Board of Appeals
    Wed., December 14 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., December 14 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Code Compliance Hearings
    Thurs., December 15 - 8 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112

Quay Development Agreement Approved

Following months of negotiations and two public hearings, the City Commission approved the development agreement this week for the Quay.  Per the agreement, the property will be redeveloped over the next 7-10 years. 

The agreement calls for the property to be redeveloped in a series of nine individual blocks creating a significant mixed-use development, with residential units, commercial space and hotel.  Each proposed block will be submitted with a site plan for review and approval by the Planning Board.  We'll continue to encourage public input for each site plan. 

The agreement also requires the historic Belle Haven hotel, located on the Quay site, to be restored when initial vertical construction begins.  In addition, two multi-use recreational trails -- one along Sarasota Bay, the other parallel to U.S. 41 -- will be constructed when the first building permit is issued.  To review the development agreement click here.

Due to the Great Recession, previous plans for redevelopment on the Quay property never came to fruition.  The City Commission is pleased with the good faith effort the new property owner has shown and their willingness to include a recreational trail on-site along Sarasota Bay, ensuring this beautiful waterfront area will be open to the community with public access.     
The Quay property will be redeveloped in a series of nine blocks.  Each block will require site plan review and approval by the Planning Board. 

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

Administrative Assistant
Administrative Specialist II - Permitting
Application Developer
Building Inspector (Single License)
Commission Reporter
Golf Course Attendant (PT)
Irrigation Tech
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part Time)
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Manager, Consolidated Plan
Panel Administrator
Plans Examiner
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Senior Pension Analyst 

This Week's Items to Know:

Lido Beach Stabilization - Awaiting FDEP Decision   We anticipate the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will make a decision about the pending permit for the long term Lido Beach shoreline stabilization project before the end of the year.

City staff has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers for the past 20 years which has included significant research, analysis and public input particularly over the last couple of years.  From a public safety standpoint, we're concerned that Lido
The long term shoreline stabilization plan would provide for accreted sand at Big Pass to be recycled and placed on Lido Beach every several years.

Key is one tropical storm away from serious property and infrastructure damage due to shoreline erosion.

The City has proven to be a good steward of Sarasota Bay, notably in recent years investing millions of dollars to prevent waste water from entering the Bay.  City staff is committed to implementing strategies that improve the water quality -- and do no harm.  Homebase to Mote Marine research, the City is also highly supportive of the work to restore coral reefs in the Bay and better understand and solve red tide.
In response to concerns from area residents, the FDEP permit application under review calls for unprecedented monitoring of Lido and Siesta beaches and Big Pass to ensure that if any unanticipated  negative impacts were to occur in those areas they would be addressed in a timely fashion.  These provisions virtually guarantee the project will have no negative human or environmental impacts to Siesta, Lido or Big Pass.

FDEP is still accepting public input on its pending decision.  I reached out again this week and reiterated the City's stance via email.  Click here to read it.

If you'd like your input considered, send an email to: or   The deadline for public input is December 15. 

Holiday Boat Parade - Sat., Dec. 10   Another weekend in December means it's time for another popular holiday event: the boat parade!   This will be the 31st year for the Boat Parade of Lights -- and the fun begins on the bayfront tomorrow night, Sat., December 10 at 6 p.m.

You'll see all kinds of vessels decked out in festive lights puttering around Sarasota Bay during this fun holiday tradition.  With an estimated 15,000 spectators expected to show up, it will be another big event for the downtown area.

The Boat Parade of Lights will be held Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. 
The best viewing areas are Bayfront Park, City Island, Centennial Park, and Marina Jack.  This year, the viewing area at Bayfront Park will be expanded to include the northern portion of the park near the dolphin fountain.  Click here to see a parade route map.

Entries will be judged in a variety of categories including private boat, corporate, and most creative -- with trophies awarded immediately following the parade.  Among those on the judges panel:  Assistant City Manager John Lege, Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg and Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes.  Good luck to the judges and participants!

The Boat Parade of Lights is a charitable event with all proceeds benefiting Suncoast Charities for Children.  We're told approximately 60 special needs children will be able to attend the parade with VIP seating.  Thanks to parade co-chairs Sam Chavers with Marina Jack and Lucy Nicandri with Suncoast Charities for Children for working behind the scenes and assembling this spectacular community event.      
Holiday Hours  With Christmas and New Year's Day falling on  Sunday this year, administrative office closures will be a little different. 

City Hall and other administrative offices will be closed Fri., Dec. 23, Mon., Dec. 26 and Mon., Jan. 2. 

There will be no changes to garbage, recycling and yard waste collection.

Bobby Jones Golf Club:  Open every day of the year!  Join us for the 9th Annual Reindeer Games on Christmas Day (more information below).

Lido Pool:  Closed Christmas Day & New Year's Day.

Robert L. Taylor Community ComplexClosed the following days:
* Sat., Dec. 24
* Sun., Dec. 25
* Mon., Dec. 26
* Sun., Jan. 1

Bobby Jones Golf Club - Reindeer Games  Grab your Santa hat, reindeer antlers and golf clubs -- Bobby Jones Golf Club is hosting the 9th Annual Reindeer Games on Christmas Day! 

Enjoy a shotgun start at 8:45 a.m. Sun., December 25 for just $ a special breakfast rate at the on-site restaurant, Libby's Greenseide.  Click here for more details.

The American and Gillespie Courses will be open for 9-hole play until 11 a.m. 

Our historic municipal golf course is open 365 days a year.  We appreciate those employees who make personal sacrifices and work holidays, so the City can continue to offer affordable recreation every day of the year. 
New Year's Eve - Downtown Celebration   Soon we'll be ushering out 2016 and ringing in 2017!   Thousands of revelers are expected to enjoy festivities in downtown leading up to what's become a uniquely Sarasota tradition: the lowering of the pineapple at Main Street and Lemon Avenue at midnight.

To prepare for this major special event, street closures will begin the day before -- at 6 a.m. on Fri., December 30Main Street, between Orange Ave. and Selby Five Points Park, will be closed through New Year's Eve.  Expect to see crews setting up for the festivities.

Since New Year's Eve is on a Saturday, the same day as the weekly
The pineapple will be lowered at Main & Lemon at the stroke of midnight. 
Downtown Farmers Market, City staff has been coordinating with organizers of both events to help facilitate a smooth transition from one to the other. While the Market is going on, crews will be preparing in other parts of downtown for the New Year's Eve bash.

Two music stages are planned this year:  one at Lemon Ave. & 1st St., and the other at Orange Ave. & Main St.  The stages and concession stands are expected to open at 1 p.m. as well as carnival rides at Selby Five Points Park.  Along the bayfront, Marina Jack plans a fireworks display at midnight.

The Sarasota Police Department estimates 45,000 people attended last year's New Year's Eve celebration in downtown.  We expect a similar size crowd this year.

Thanks to Ron Soto and the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association for sponsoring the festivities.  The pineapple drop has become a signature event for Sarasota and we appreciate the SDMA doing much of the heavy lifting, planning and organizing it.       
United Way Fundraiser - Soup Challenge  In previous editions of Weekly Briefs we've mentioned that many City employees give generously to the City's annual United Way Suncoast campaign.  And, we're pleased to report we've surpassed 90% of our fundraising goal this year.

Over the past couple of months, some employees have participated
Karen Simpson claimed the title with a taco soup.

in fundraisers including a pancake breakfast, garage sale, cutest pet and cutest baby photo contests -- and, last week, a soup challenge.

The soup challenge was a new fundraiser this year hosted by the Utilities Department. There were 13 tasty entries, and employees gave a cash donation to sample them, then cast their vote for the most delicious.

The grand winner was Karen Simpson, Material Store Supervisor, who whipped up a hot taco soup.  Filled with black beans, red beans and green chili peppers, this entry was a clear favorite with those who like their soup with a kick.

When she isn't working in the Utilities Department, Karen loves to cook.  Her taco soup is a family recipe which, she says, is surprisingly quick and easy to prepare. 

Congrats on top soup honors!  And, bravo to all employees who participate in the United Way campaign which helps dozens of nonprofit organizations in Sarasota, DeSoto, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. 

Upcoming Events 

Southside Village Stroll
  O sprey Ave.:  Southside Village 
Fri., Dec. 9
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Tree Lighting 
Newtown Redeveloopment Office
1782 Dr. MLK, Jr. Way
Fri., Dec. 9
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Porsches in the Park 
St. Armands Circle
Sat., Dec. 10
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Jingle Paws 
Selby Five Points Park
Sat., Dec. 10
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Atomic Holiday Bazaar 
Municipal Auditorium
Sat., Dec. 10 & Sun., Dec. 11
Noon - 5 p.m.

Boat Parade of Lights 
Bayfront Park
Sat., Dec. 10
6 p.m.

Blue + You Movie Night:  Angry Birds 
SPD Headquarters - 2099 Adams Lane
West End Lawn
Sun., December 18
6 p.m.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

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

Oak Ridge Boys' Christmas
Sat., December 10 - 8 p.m.

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

Garrison Keillor
Tues., December 13 - 8 p.m.
  A Christmas Carol will be at the Van Wezel on Dec. 21.


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.

Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert
Tues., January 3 - 7 p.m.

My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy
Thurs., January 5 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Beethoven & Brahms
Fri., January 6 - 8 p.m.
Sat., January 7 - 8 p.m.
Sun., January 8 - 2:30 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Orchestra Website

Dirty Dancing
Tues., January 10 - 8 p.m.
Wed., January 11 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Matthew Morrison
Thurs., January 12 - 8 p.m.

Jay Leno
Fri., January 13 - 8 p.m.
  Michael Bolton will perform at the Van Wezel on Jan. 15. 


Dick Fox's Golden Boys starring Frankie Avalon, Fabian & Bobby Rydell
Sat., January 14 - 8 p.m.

Michael Bolton
Sun., January 15 - 7 p.m.

Engelbert Humperdinck
Mon., January 16 - 8 p.m.

Elvis Lives
Tues., January 17 - 8 p.m.

Zoltan Maga
Wed., January 18 - 8 p.m.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/Wynton Marsalis
Thurs., January 19 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra-Pops: The Songs of Elton John and More starring Michael Cavanaugh
Fri., January 20 - 8 p.m.
Sat., January 21 - 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Orchestra Website

Adam Trent:  The Futurist
Sun., January 22 - 7 p.m.

Tues., January 24 - 8 p.m.
  Boz Scaggs will be at the Van Wezel Jan. 31.

Wed., January 25 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Spend the Night with Billy Crystal
Thurs., January 26 - 8 p.m.

Kenny Rogers - Final World Tour

Fri., January 27 - 8 p.m.

Gladys Knight
Sat., January 28 - 8 p.m.

Johnny Mathis
Sun., January 29 - 7 p.m.

Boz Scaggs
Tues., January 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

Weekly Briefs will be on hiatus until after the holidays.  We wish you and yours a very happy holiday season.  See you in 2017!

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