From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
June 22, 2018

Summer has arrived!  In spite of the heat, it's still nice to be outside, especially if you can find a pleasant shady spot like this one.   We caught up with longtime resident Darrel Wininger this week at Arlington Park as he paused for a moment to take in the fresh air and surroundings.  Mr. Wininger tells us he's lived across the street from the park for a remarkable 60 years and frequents this urban oasis regularly.   Currently, Arlington Park is owned by the City of Sarasota and, under an inter-governmental agreement, has been maintained and operated by Sarasota County.  That will change this fall when several parks that have been maintained by the County will be returned to the City to maintain and operate.  This will create significant expense increases to our Parks and Recreation budget, but we also plan to improve maintenance and programs in those parks.


  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., June 25  - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission Workshop
    Tues., June 26 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission Workshop
    Wed., June 27 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., June 27 - 1:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Special City Commission
    Wed., June 27 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Gabby Giffords: A Portrait of Courage
Mayor Liz Alpert presents former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords with a Key to the City.
It was my pleasure on Thursday to assist Mayor Liz Alpert in welcoming former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords to Sarasota.  As you may recall, Ms. Giffords survived an assassination attempt that left her with a severe brain injury. The former Arizona Congresswoman, in town for a local stop gun violence event at Selby Five Points Park, has been a tireless advocate for improving gun laws since she left office.
Ms. Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 during a public appearance in a suburban area of Tucson. She was one of 20 people shot that day, six of them fatally, in what has become an all-too-common occurrence of gun violence in America.  Ms. Giffords, who has recovered much of her ability to walk and speak following a lengthy rehabilitation, was here to talk about gun violence and school safety, a topic that has only grown in national significance in the wake of an increasing number of mass shootings around the country. 
Mayor Alpert presented Ms. Giffords with a Key to the City in recognition of her courage and her public service. I also had the opportunity to briefly speak to her about Sarasota's recently launched "Done with the Gun" program, in which concerned citizens can safely and responsibly dispose of any unwanted firearm by turning it over to the Sarasota Police Department. Our hope is that this small program can make a difference by keeping guns from being used accidentally in the home/neighborhood or sold to unknown individuals on the internet.  
After hearing about our "Done with the Gun" program, I was approached by a Venice Councilwoman who plans to recommend a similar program in her city.  We hope that other communities mirror this effort and help slow the proliferation of firearms and gun violence that has gripped our nation.  
Throughout my life I've met many tough individuals, including many NFL football players.  Without question, with what Gabby Giffords has endured and continues to fight for, she is one of the strongest, most courageous people I've had the honor of meeting.  Thank you, Ms. Giffords, for your courage and conviction on this critically important issue, which is now heavily influencing the security operations and costs of our schools.     

Greeting former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in downtown this week.

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

Commercial Plans Examiner
Irrigation Technician I
Parks Service Worker - Part-time
Pension Plans Administrator
Pension Specialist
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant/RLTCC
RLTCC Lifeguards
     Volunteer/Unpaid Intern    

This Week's Items to Know:

Lido Shoreline Protection - Permit Granted & Sen. Rubio Visit When U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio arrived at Lido Beach last weekend to see the severely eroded beach firsthand, he was shocked, saying the photos he had reviewed paled by comparison to seeing it in person.  To underscore the point, he stated this was the most dramatic erosion he's seen.
Mayor Alpert, Vice Mayor Ahearn-Koch, Commissioner Brody, Commissioner Shaw and I welcomed the senator to Sarasota and thanked him for his role in helping to pave the way for the release of nearly $13.5 million to renourish the beach.  He told us he's committed to making sure the funds are released in a timely fashion, so Lido can be stabilized and restored by this time next year.     
Front: Sen. Marco Rubio, Mayor Liz Alpert, Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, Sarasota County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo; Back: Commissioner Willie Shaw, Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering, Commissioner Hagen Brody, City Manager Tom Barwin 
Early this week, we also learned the final FDEP permit for the long-term renourishment program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was granted.  We're hopeful the handful of Siesta Key residents who have challenged and delayed this project for the past 18 months through litigation will forgo the additional litigation and choose to work with us to monitor the project and formulate a plan to protect all of Sarasota County's beaches for the next 50 years.  As required in the coastal permits, monitoring will be a significant component of the long-term restoration project, and adjustments will be made as warranted.    
A brief video with highlights of the sights and sounds from Sen. Rubio's visit can be seen here.   
The Bay - Community Meetings    Next week, Sasaki, the master design and planning firm working on The Bay, will unveil the revised master plan during several community meetings.
As the master planning process for this impressive initiative involving 52 acres of prime real estate along Sarasota Bay winds down, community engagement continues to be sought.  The revised master plan is ambitious with an open air amphitheater, upgraded boating facilities, ample space for our cherished cultural arts programs including the Van Wezel and the Symphony and Orchestra  -- and lush, open green space for visitors to just sit and relax on the Bay.
Four community presentations are planned: two on Monday the 25th and two on Tuesday the 26th.  While they're open to the public, space is limited and an RSVP is requested.
Public presentations:
Monday, June 25
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 

Monday, June 25
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Tuesday, June 26
1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Sarasota Municipal Auditorium
Tuesday, June 26
Herald-Tribune Forum
5:30 p.m.- 7 p.m.
Sarasota Municipal Auditorium 
In addition, the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization and Sasaki will provide an update to the City Commission on Monday, June 25, at 5 p.m.

This is a major proposal and an exciting time for the Sarasota community as we have an opportunity to shape the future of the Bay for generations to come.

Ready for 100 - Community Meetings Wrap Up  Our Sustainability team this past Wednesday hosted the last of four community meetings to gather feedback and input on a draft report about the City's "Ready for 100" effort.
When we launched Ready for 100 last year, the Sarasota City
Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes interacting with residents during a small group breakout session this week.

Commission committed to 100 percent renewable energy city-wide by 2045 and for city buildings and operations by 2030. Since then, the City has facilitated a series of planning and feedback meetings at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex to discuss strategies for reaching this goal. 
Thank you to the dedicated group of a few dozen interested citizens, partners and stakeholders who have helped shape the "Roadmap to 100" report, which City staff will now finalize and bring before the Commission for consideration later this fall. The group has provided valuable insight and ideas throughout this community-driven planning phase and was treated to a well-deserved cake Wednesday in celebration of its efforts.
To view the draft report, provide feedback, learn more and follow the progress of Ready for 100, visit SarasotaFL.Gov and type in the keywords "Ready for 100."
Lightning Awareness Week:  June 25-29     Now that summer has officially arrived, the afternoon thunderstorms are returning, so this is a good time for a refresher on the Do's and Don'ts when it comes to lightning safety.
When you hear thunder, most likely you're within striking distance of a storm.  You should go indoors as soon as possible.  Many people wait too long to seek shelter, and these delayed responses result in many of the lightning deaths and injuries throughout the country.     
The National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will observe next week as Lightning Awareness Week and want to remind you that when thunder roars, go indoors.
Also, follow these Do's and Don'ts: 
* Go inside
* Find a building, house, car with a roof
* Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after you last hear thunder
* Retreat to pavilions, picnic shelters, dugouts, sheds
* Use/touch electronics, outlets, landline phones, windows  
* Go under or stand near tall trees
* Swim or be near water
* Stand near metal objects 
During Lightning Awareness Week next week, we'll be sharing important information and reminders on social media. Look for posts on the City of Sarasota's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages...and stay safe during the thunderstorm season.    

"Paws" & Relax  - Dog Therapy   Our Human Resources Department is getting creative when it comes to health and wellness for employees.  Last week, City Hall went to the dogs, so to speak, when four therapy dogs were brought in so employees could take a break, pause,and enjoy being around man's best friend.  
It's well documented that being around a pooch can boost spirits and drop blood pressure.  So, when HR Director Stacie Mason heard about the Humane Society's therapy dog program, she thought it would be a unique and fun way to help employees de-stress.  And, who doesn't need a brief break to clear one's mind before re-focusing on the next pressing issue at hand?
There were many smiles (some even said it was a doggone good time) during the inaugural "Paws" and Relax event.  In fact, it was so popular, plans are already in the works to visit some of the City's satellite offices, including Public Works and Utilities.   
Thanks to the HR Department for offering this unexpected therapeutic relaxation session!   


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through December 2018.  To view the entire Van Wezel season, visit    

Friday Fest - Jah Movement 
Friday, June 22:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
FREE Concert

Reverend Barry & The Funk 
Friday, July 27:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m. 

Rebel Heart 
Friday, August 17:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m. 

Dr. Dave Band 
Friday, September 14:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Join us this summer for our free outdoor concert series, "Friday Fest".

FREE Concert

The Simon & Garfunkel Story 
Sat., October 27 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular 
Sat., November 10 - 7:30 p.m.
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live 
Tues., December 11 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker 
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

The Sweet Caroline Tour 
Mon., December 31 - 9 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 CityNews@SarasotaFL.Gov 

Tom Barwin
City Manager