From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
February 3, 2017

Photo of the Week
The Ringling Bridge and Causeway will be part of the designated race route for the Music Half Marathon this Sunday, February 5.  The run offers participants stunning views of our beautiful city.  For many, scenery like this will be a welcome distraction as they push through their 13.1 mile endurance challenge.  To ensure the safety of runners, temporary lane closures will be in effect 6:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  More details below.        

  • City Commission
    Mon., February 6 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., February 7 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Parks, Recreation & Environmental Protection Board
    Tues., February 7 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Public Art Committee
    Wed., February 8 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., February 8 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Black History Month
During Black History Month, we're reflecting on race relations in Sarasota,
T ampa Tribune article dated Feb. 12, 1959. 
including our municipal golf course, the Bobby Jones Golf Club, which opened with much fanfare in 1927.

The first 32 years of its existence, Bobby Jones was limited to whites only. Locals recall that African Americans were allowed to caddy but could not play on the course with whites.

That all changed in 1959, when six African American men from the Sarasota area met with then-City Manager Ken Thompson. They explained that they wanted to play golf on our affordable public course primarily because they no longer wanted to make the long drive to Tampa where courses were becoming racially integrated. They told Mr. Thompson they did not want to cause a disturbance or use the clubhouse. Hearing that, according to a Tampa Tribune news article published on February 12, 1959, Mr. Thompson informed the group they would not be prevented from playing.

According to local historians, four of the six who attended that meeting played Bobby Jones Golf Club the very next day by themselves peaceably after 4 o'clock. No one interfered with their play that day or any day forward, as locals recall. One of the foursome on the course that historic day was Robert "Bud" Thomas. Each year during the MLK Day celebrations, a golf tournament is held in Bud Thomas' memory to remember the important role he and his friends played in integrating Bobby Jones. 

Mayor Willie Shaw and Vice Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie have suggested that I have this locally important historical event be commemorated with a historical marker at an appropriate and prominent location at Bobby Jones, which I am pleased to have directed staff to pursue.  

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

Application Developer
Building Inspector (Single License)
Electrical Maintenance Mechanic
Golf Course Attendant (Part Time)
Inventory Technician (SPD Part Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Maintenance Mechanic II - RLT
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Manager, Newtown Redevelopment
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Procurement Specialist II
Refuse Equipment Operator SA
System Integrator  
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator C

This Week's Items to Know:
Music Half Marathon - Sun., Feb. 5    This Sunday, thousands of runners will lace up and take to the streets for the popular
Sarasota Music Half Marathon.  Once again the event is sold out with the number of entrants capped at 4,000. 

Traffic-wise, here's what you need to know:  The half marathon starts at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at 6:30 a.m.  Temporary lane closures will begin at 6 a.m. and will be along Tamiami Trail,  Ringling Bridge, St. Armands Circle, S. Orange Ave., S. Osprey Ave., and Cherokee Park. Bridge.    
  • S. Orange Ave. will be closed to all traffic from Mound Street to S. Osprey Ave.  (approx. 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.)
  • S. Osprey Ave. will be closed from McClellan Dr. to Webber St. (approx. 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.)
Runners are expected to be off the course with the streets opened by 11 a.m.

For more details on lane closures click here.   To view a course map click here.  

Once again this year, staff worked closely with race organizers to ensure minimal impact to residents while providing an exceptional venue for local running enthusiasts as well as those visiting our scenic city just for the race.  We appreciate everyone's patience in advance.  

LS 87 Update - Microtunneling Started   We're pleased to report the microtunneling portion of the Lift Station 87 project is underway!  Work started this past weekend, and during site inspections this week I observed firsthand that the microtunneling is going well.

Microtunneling is a specialized trenchless construction technique and it's being used to install a 36-inch wastewater main under the Hudson Bayou.  The
The microtunnel boring machine. 
boring machine was launched on the south side of the Osprey Bridge from a 30-foot deep shaft.  Depending on the underground conditions, the machine should advance 20-40 feet per day creating a tunnel 8-feet below the bottom of the bayou where the wastewater main will be installed within a 60-inch diameter protective steel casing.

Microtunneling under the bayou should be finished within four weeks.  This has been a long time coming and we look forward to a successful conclusion!  In the meantime, the City remains in litigation with the original engineer of record for the project, AECOM, due to their flawed design to microtunnel safely under the bayou.

FDOT - Siesta Dr. Construction  Plan Ahead:  We've been notified by FDOT officials they will begin a stormwater drainage improvement project next week (Feb. 6) at Siesta Dr. and San Remo Terrace For the next couple of months, lane closures are expected at night during non-peak hours Sunday-Thursday 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

Those heading to Siesta Key should be on the lookout for crews working at night and during the daytime until the project is finished in the Spring.  For more details on the project click here.        
Emergency Notifications - Registration Underway   The City of Sarasota uses an emergency notification system, called Rapid Notify, to alert residents of urgent matters including water outages, severe weather, flooding, etc.  We can target a specific geographic area for residents to receive alerts via email, text message, landline phone and cell phone.

Flooding during Tropical Storm Hermine. 
The City's Emergency Manager, Todd Kerkering, recently has been assessing evacuation plans and how people would be notified.  Rapid Notify would be used to alert a large number of residents about an evacuation or other emergency very quickly.

If you're not registered for Rapid Notify, we encourage you to do so. There's no cost and it's easy to register.  Click here to sign up.

Targeted Practice Notifications - Feb. 14:  As part of the City's continuing effort with education and emergency preparedness, we will conduct a drill on Valentine's Day February 14 at 10 a.m. using the Rapid Notify system. Lido Key and St. Armands Key will be the test areas for this preparedness drill.  For those registered and living in those areas, expect to receive a practice test message around 10 a.m. on February 14. We're considering an actual practice evacuation of Lido Key later year.    
Downtown Circulator   Next Monday, Feb. 6, the City Commission will consider a contract agreement with a company to provide free on-demand rides around the downtown area via electric vehicle.  As the City Commission seeks ways to ease traffic congestion and move people, downtown organizations and staff believe this is an innovative, viable and sustainable option.
One of the on-demand electric vehicles will be on display at
City Hall during the City Commission meeting.

The company, The Gotcha Group, LLC, has experienced success in other communities with similar programs. 

Each vehicle would carry up to five passengers (plus a driver) and would run up to 12 hours a day seven days a week.  Ridership would be on-demand via cell phone app or telephone call and wait times would be generally 5-10 minutes, but passengers could also flag a shuttle if it's going by.

A total of seven vehicles (including one handicap accessible vehicle) would be used with service boundaries being 14th Street to the north, Mound Street to the south, School Avenue to the east and Sarasota Bay to the west.

The possibility of moving residents and visitors in an eco-friendly vehicle that is on-demand is exciting and, we believe, the wave of the future.  If approved by the City Commission, the vehicles could be on the street by the end of April.

The company will have a vehicle on display outside City Hall for the City Commission meeting at 2:30 p.m.  We encourage you to stop by and take a look!

Use of Force Education Day - March 4  If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a law enforcement officer and have to make split second life or death decisions, SPD is offering a special community training session for you!

SPD's 'Use of Force' class provides a unique experience with participants playing the role of officers in various real-life scenarios including a domestic dispute and a traffic stop.  A video simulator also will be used.

When the first 'Use of Force' education day was held last year, it was an eye opener for many participants as they took on the role of a police officer. 

The class will be held Sat., March 4 from 9 a.m. - noon at the SPD Headquarters.  Registration is open to 40 participants. 

To reserve your space, contact Colleen Woods: 941-363-5807 or Colleen.Woods@SarasotaFL.Gov  Please RSVP by Fri., February 17.   

Upcoming Events 

Black History Open House 
N. Sarasota Library - 2801 Newtown Blvd.
Fri., February 3
5:30 p.m. 
National Stamp Exhibition  
nicipal Auditorium
Sat., Feb. 4 & Sun., Feb. 5 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Fine Arts Festival

Lido Beach Pavilion 
Sat., Feb. 4 & Sun., Feb. 5 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Black AIDS Awareness Day 
Fredd Atkins Park
Sat., Feb. 4
Noon - 4 p.m.

Sarasota Masters Art Festival 
J.D. Hamel Park
Sat., Feb. 4 & Sun., Feb. 5 
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Music Half Marathon

Start & Finish:  Van Wezel
Sun., February 5
6:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Bobby Jones Clubhouse Focus Group
Bobby Jones Clubhouse - 1000 Circus Blvd.
Tues., February 7
8 a.m. 
  Household Hazardous Waste
Collection Event
Payne Park - Parking Lots
Sat., February 11
8 a.m. - Noon 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through February 2017.  For more information visit    

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Tchaikovsky to Tuur
Fri., February 3 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 4 - 8 p.m.
Sun., February 5 - 2:30 p.m.
Sarasota Orchestra Website

Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man
Mon., February 6 - 8 p.m.

Itzhak Perlman
Tues., February 7 - 8 p.m.
Twyla Tharp will be at the Van Wezel Feb. 15.


Lily Tomlin
Wed., February 8 - 8 p.m.

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Thurs., February 9 - 8 p.m.

Steve Martin and Martin Short
Fri., February 10 - 8 p.m.

Dave Chappelle
Sat., February 11 - 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.

Ringling Town Hall - Geena Davis
Mon., February 13 - 10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Neil Berg's 108 Years of Broadway
Tues., February 14 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Twyla Tharp
Wed., February 15 - 8 p.m.

Fri., February 17 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 18 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6
Sun., February 19 - 7 p.m.

Ringling Town Hall - Jared Cohen
Mon., February 20 - 10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Alvin Ailey
Tues., February 21 - 8 p.m.
Catch Jackie Evancho on Feb. 27.


Lang Lang
Thurs., February 23 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Estonian Voices
Fri., February 24 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 25 - 8 p.m.
Sun., February 26 - 2:30 p.m.
Sarasota Orchestra

Jackie Evancho
Mon., February 27 - 8 p.m.

Swan Lake - The Russian National Ballet Theatre
Tues., February 28 - 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