From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 28, 2017
Even with the heat index sizzling at 102 degrees,  Eli, 6, and his cousin Laci, 5, were happily climbing on the play equipment at the Circus Playground and having fun at Payne Park in downtown.  Their families live in Tampa and Naples, and Payne Park has become a nice rendezvous point for them to spend time together at one of Sarasota's crown jewel amenities.     


  • Community Workshop
    Mon., July 31 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Community Workshop
    Mon., July 31 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112

  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., August 1 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., August 2 - 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.
Administrative Specialist I
Capital Projects Coordinator
Control System Tech I - Plant Maintenance
Facility Maintenance Tech
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic (Part-Time)
Manager, Redevelopment
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (Children's Fountain)
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
Refuse Driver and Refuse Operator       
    Refuse Equipment Operator, Residential    


This Week's Items to Know:

Paul Thorpe Park   The soggy weather didn't dampen spirits for the renaming of Pineapple Park last Saturday.  Dozens and dozens of people huddled under umbrellas and rain soaked tents, including Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie, Commissioner Shaw, former elected officials, community leaders, business owners and residents, to witness the renaming of the park.

"Mr. Downtown", as he's known to so many of us for his unwavering
Paul Thorpe waving to attendees during the ceremony. 
commitment to revitalizing downtown, personally unveiled the plaque with the new name, Paul N. Thorpe Jr. Park, to much applause.  It was a special moment which many will remember for years to come as we honor the man who never gave up on downtown Sarasota -- for the community's betterment.

Thanks to former Vice Mayor Danny Bilyeu who worked with many in the community to organize the ceremony very quickly.  And, special thanks to our Parks & Rec and Public Works crews who sprang into action and ensured tents were erected to deal with the rainy weather.

Eloise Werlin Park - New Restrooms   Thanks to the generosity of Doc Werlin, the restrooms at Hart's Landing adjacent to Eloise Werlin Park are currently under renovation.

Doc adopted the park (named for his late wife) in February 2015 and covered the expenses for the children's playground, landscaping and benches.  The improvements have transformed the park into a popular family-friendly destination.

With Doc Werlin and Craig Holliday, president of Holliday Group General Contractors 
4-5 times a week, Doc visits the park and talks with users about the amenities and what could be improved.  With more and more people enjoying this beautiful green space on Sarasota Bay, Doc saw the need to improve the public restrooms.

He enlisted the assistance of friend Christine Goodall (who also is active with the Sarasota Police Foundation) who connected with developer Marshall Gobuty and he ultimately donated the toilet hardware. Doc is funding the rest of the project including providing additional frame support to the building, new drywall, paint, ADA handrails and baby changing stations.  Craig Holliday and his crew with Holliday Group General Contractors are handling the construction.

Both the women and men's restrooms are being renovated. 
The renovations started this week and, weather permitting, are scheduled to wrap up in time to reopen the restrooms for the weekend.

Doc's profound generosity continues to inspire and create a positive experience for the estimated 75-100,000 people who use the park each year. Following Doc's lead, we're working toward developing an Adopt-a-Park program to encourage others to invest in our family-friendly park system.

Thank you, Doc, for your bigheartedness!   

Orange Ave. & Hillview St. - Intersection Reopened Early  Crews  completed the scheduled infrastructure work at Orange Ave. & Hillview St. two days early and reopened Orange Ave. this week.  Thanks to those involved for hustling to get it done early -- and coordinating the closure to coincide with the reopening of Osprey Ave. which helped with the short term traffic detour.

While 2-way traffic is flowing on Orange Ave., Hillview St. will remain temporarily closed so new traffic signals, curbs and sidewalks can be  installed at Hillview & Orange Ave.  Crews expect to reopen Hillview by August 11.

Your patience is appreciated! 

Orange Ave. at Hillview St. reopened two days early.   
HIllview at Orange Ave. will reopen by August 11.
Lido Beach Employee Cleanup   At the start of the year, with the help of the sustainability team, City of Sarasota employees adopted Lido Beach with the intention of some volunteering their time on a Saturday morning several times a year to pick up litter on the beach.
Carrying lots of cardboard found along the beach dunes.  

Our second cleanup was scheduled for last Saturday -- and several Lido Key residents joined us as well. 

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, bringing lightning and heavy rain ashore which forced us to seek shelter.  Just during the hour we walked the beach, though, we collected a lot of bottles, cans, plastic debris, cardboard --- even fully inflated floaties.  

It's an evolving process educating beach goers about picking up after themselves and protecting our beautiful natural resource.  We hope you'll do your part and share our message to help ensure Lido Beach remains a healthy and attractive destination.

Certified Automotive Fleet Manager  We're proud to announce our Fleet Maintenance Manager, Mike Keim, achieved something difficult in his field: he's now a Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM)!  How difficult is it to earn a CAFM?  Just 15% of those who enroll in the program graduate.  Bravo, Mike! 

The CAFM program is very comprehensive, with exams covering asset
Mike Keim with his Certified Automotive
Fleet Manager certificate. 
management, business management, financial management, fleet information management, maintenance management, professional development, risk management and vehicle fuel management.  Mike started working toward the certification about a year and a half ago.

Here's another interesting tidbit that highlights Mike's focus and determination: he earned a business administration degree from USF last year -- after attending classes for 8 years while working for the City full time. 
Overseeing fleet maintenance for City vehicles and equipment is a large responsibility, and we're proud to have Mike at the helm.  Congratulations, Mike!

Lift Station 87 Update
Osprey Ave. reopened to all traffic July 14.

With the two technical and complex microtunnels successfully completed and the Osprey Ave. Bridge now reopened to all traffic, Phase I of the new project plan is almost complete.  Next week, crews will begin to remove the sheeting steel from the 30-foot-deep tunneling shaft in Luke Wood Park, marking the last major construction activity for Phase I.

Phase II, construction of the actual Lift Station 87 building, will begin in the near future.  In the meantime, the City is continuing to pursue financial reimbursement through the courts for funds expended on the original plan. 

In Summer 2012, with growing concerns over what has proven to be inept engineering by the original Engineer of Record, AECOM, the City's legal team hired outside counsel and engineering experts.   

Based on a comprehensive investigation to determine the depth of the bottom of the Osprey Ave. Bridge foundation and the rock layer under the Hudson Bayou, we now know that the microtunnel with the original engineering design would have likely hit the Osprey Ave. Bridge or would have come dangerously close.  Most likely, that would have caused multi-million dollars in damage to the 100 year old bridge structure or even risked collapse of the bridge.  By stopping the project, the City averted a potential catastrophic incident, which could have cost millions to replace the bridge.

More legal depositions have been taken recently and the two lawsuits against AECOM and the contractor, Westra, have been combined into one.  The case is now scheduled to go to trial in Summer 2018.

The City hopes to recoup $10-20 million plus legal expenses due to the false start related to the faulty design. This is a serious legal matter.  Since 2012, the effort to document the engineering problems and prepare for trial has been:

Bridge Inspection:                   $  523,418.83 
Expert Witnesses Fees:           $2,025,649.94
Outside Counsel Legal Fees:  $2,156,098.95
Costs                                        $  414,821.72

In consultation with City Attorney Bob Fournier, we're providing this information to continue to be transparent about this case as we prepare for trial. We remain optimistic the City's outside legal counsel will continue to work diligently to recoup expenses for the flawed design and false start, including reimbursement of expert witness research and litigation. 

The newly engineered project did not risk bridge damage or disturbing silt below the bayou.  After averting disaster and a lengthy delay, there is finally light at the end of this tunnel. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through Dec. 2017.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 

Friday Fest:  Jah Movement Reggae Band
Fri., August 25 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Tony Bennett
Fri., September 8 - 8 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Reverend Barry & the Funktastic Soul
Fri., September 15 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Big Stage Ballroom - Fred Astaire 
Sun., October 8 - 7 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular 
Sat., November 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Celtic Thunder will be at the Van Wezel Nov. 15.


Celtic Thunder
Wed., November 15 - 7:30 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 16 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker
Fri., Dec. 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 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