From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
November 4, 2016

Photo of the Week
Vertical construction is underway for Urban Flats (formerly Sarasota Flats).  Located along Fruitville Rd., between Lemon Ave. and Central Ave., the development will be a mixed use project with 228 residential units and 3,700 square feet of retail space.  One of several new residential developments north of Fruitville Rd., it will provide an opportunity to connect the Rosemary District to our vibrant and jobs rich downtown.  A key to successful connectivity will be to create a more pedestrian-friendly Fruitville Road.  Staff is working on viable alternatives now.  In the background, The DeSota (formerly Second Street Apartments), just south of Fruitville Rd., can be seen under construction.


  • Special City Commission
    Mon., November 7 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., November 7 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., November 8 - 10:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 109
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., November 8 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall  - Commission Chambers
  • Public Art Cmte
    Wed., November 9 - 1 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • LS 87 Project Team
    Wed., November 9 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.  

Application Developer
Commercial Plans Examiner
Communications Specialist
Facility Maintenance Tech
Human Resources Specialist
Inventory Technician
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part Time)
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Part-time Parking Attendant
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Refuse Equipment Operator
Utilities Mechanic I - Facilities
Utility Mechanic I - Water Distribution

This Week's Items to Know:
FDOT - U.S. 41 Improvements Start Nov. 8   FDOT announced this week it plans to begin an extensive improvement project along U.S. 41 next Tues., November 8.  The project will stretch from Browning Street to 11th Street and will include resurfacing the road, installing updated lighting, constructing sidewalks, curbs and gutters, improving drainage and some lane modifications designed for better traffic flow during peak season.

FDOT advises there will be nighttime/overnight lane closures along U.S. 41, U.S. 301, Fruitville Rd. and Orange Ave.  For more details on lane closures and times click here.

This is a $6.2 million investment in Sarasota and we appreciate the State of Florida making these necessary improvements.  While much of the construction work is scheduled to be done during non-peak drive times, we encourage everyone to be patient when encountering lane closures.  The project is expected to be completed in Fall 2017.

UW Garage Sale - Sat., Nov. 5   Join us for the 2nd Annual City of Sarasota Employee Garage Sale -- a fundraiser for the United Way Suncoast!  The event will take place tomorrow Sat., November 5 starting at 7 a.m. at City Hall, 1565 First Street.  Look for us in the parking lot adjacent to City Hall on First Street.

We expect a good selection of gently used clothes, books, electronics and other assorted items -- all donated by City of Sarasota employees.

All proceeds will go to the United Way Suncoast which assists many nonprofits throughout Sarasota, DeSoto, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties which provide a variety of needed services in the community.  

The garage sale will be going on at the same time as the Downtown Farmers Market.  So, you can hit both early in the morning!  Hope to see you there.

Public Art - Sculpture Recommended  Earlier this week, the Public Art Committee heard presentations from the three finalists for the sculpture that will be installed at a future roundabout at Orange Ave. & Ringling Ave.  After listening to the artists and public input, the Committee unanimously recommended Jorge Blanco and his submission 'BRAVO!' 

Rendering of 'BRAVO!' by Sarasota artist Jorge Blanco. 
An internationally known artist and Sarasota resident, Blanco has created captivating pieces that are part of the City of Sarasota public art collection, including "The Runners".
Over 160 diverse submissions were received from artists around the world.  The Sarasota community is blessed with an array of talented artists and we're pleased a hometown resident rose to become a finalist in this international competition to create the next addition to the City's public art collection.  

The Public Art Committee's recommendation will be considered by the City Commission for final approval in the near future...most likely in early December.   

Mayors' Feed The Hungry - Food Drive:  Nov. 7 - 18  The annual Mayors' Feed The Hungry food drive begins next week on Monday, November 7 and concludes the following week on Friday, November 18.

The food drive will take place in Sarasota, Bradenton, North Port, Palmetto, and Venice.  And, drop boxes will be placed at several City of Sarasota buildings where non-perishable items can be donated: 


  • City Hall, 1565 First Street
  • Sarasota Police Headquarters, 2099 Adams Lane
  • Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - 777 N. Tamiami Trail

Last year, the drive provided meals to over 14,000 children and families throughout the Sarasota-area.  We're told, though, 40,000 requests were left unfilled.  That's a significant need.  We hope our special city continues its long standing history of helping those less fortunate.  


To learn more about the Mayors' Feed The Hungry program visit their website: 



Veterans Day - City Offices Closed Nov. 11   City administrative offices will be closed next Friday, November 11 in observance of Veterans Day.  There will be no change to garbage, recycling and yard waste collection.

All City of Sarasota recreational facilities will be open with regular business hours.

Parade - 10 a.m.:  We encourage you to join us in the morning for the annual Veterans Day parade.  Held in conjunction with the Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee, the parade will begin at Osprey Ave. & Main St. at 10 a.m. and conclude at Selby Five Points Park on lower Main Street. 

Ceremony - 11 a.m.:  A ceremony honoring our military veterans will be held at Selby Five Points Park at the end of the parade, at approximately 11 a.m.

Reminder:  Veterans Day parade  
Finance Dept. - 2 Professional Awards   Congratulations to the Finance team -- honored once again by their peers with the Government Finance Officers Association for excellence in financial reporting.

For the 35th consecutive year, the City was honored with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).  This is a 200+ page document that is very detailed.  In fact, the City of Sarasota's report is considered to go above and beyond generally accepted accounting practices.  

And, for the 3rd straight year, the City was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.  This is an abbreviated version of the CAFR written and presented in layman's terms to promote community participation and understanding of the City's finances. 
Both awards were given for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.
To review the CAFR click here.  To see the Popular Report click here.

Having a strong Finance Department is a critical component of the overall health and well being of the City.  And, to know our team is consistently recognized by their peers for their professional knowledge and commitment to transparency is reassuring that the City's finances are in good hands.

Wallet Hub - Top Designation   Sarasota has been ranked as a top small city by another national organization.  This week, Wallet Hub, a personal finance website, listed Sarasota in the top 4 percent of the Best Small Cities to Live In in America.  That's the highest rating for any Florida city.  Nearly 1,300 cities were studied by Wallet Hub.

Among the reasons given for the high ranking:  the overall quality of life here including the number of restaurants, coffee shops and fitness centers per capita. 

Recently, Sarasota has been included as a top finalist for Happiest Seaside Town in America, Great Place in Florida, and Best Small City in the U.S. 

This trend seems to be reflected in tourism data we recently received from Visit Sarasota County.  The number of visitors is up 3 percent from last year -- and more of those people are traveling with children.  Sarasota continues to be the place for spectacular sunsets, cultural arts and award winning local cuisine.   

Upcoming Events 

Yoga at the Bayfront
Bayfront Park
Sat., November 5
8 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Inspire Sarasota!  
Selby Five Points Park
Sat., November 5 
9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Gem Show
Municipal Auditorium 
Sat., & Sun., Nov. 5 & 6 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Ferraris on the Circle 
St. Armands Circle Park 
Sat., November 5 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Reggae Festival - World of Beer 
Links Park
Sat., November 5
3 p.m. - 10 p.m.

City Manager:  Open Office Hours 
1782 Dr. MLK, Jr. Way 
Tues., November 8
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Job Fair 
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex 
Thurs., November 17 
1 p.m. - 6 p.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

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

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

Decades Rewind
Sat., November 19 - 8 p.m.
Dave Koz will be at the Van Wezl Nov. 25.


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.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: The New World
Fri., December 2 - 8 p.m.
Sat., December 3 - 8 p.m.
Sun., December 4 - 2:30 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Orchestra

Fame The Musical
Wed., December 7 - 7 p.m.

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.
Garrison Keillor will be at the
Van Wezel on Dec. 13.


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

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