From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
November 30, 2018

The chilly temperatures brought to our area by a mid-week cold snap didn't keep Sarasota residents Jose Fernandez, left, and Paul Bolton from walking along the shoreline at Bayfront Park on Wednesday. Fernandez and Bolton said they walk six days a week at the park - even when it requires gloves and an extra layer of clothing or two.


  • General Employees' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Mon., December 3 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., December 3 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • Downtown Improvement District
    T ues., December 4 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., December 5 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Firefighters' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Wed., December 5 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Board of Rules and Appeals
    Wed., December 5 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Special City Commission
    Wed., December 5 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Citizens Tax Oversight Committee
    Thurs., December 6 - 2 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Featured Job of the Week 


This Week's Items to Know:

Sarasota Holiday Shopping & Parade - Sat. Dec. 1   It's that time of year!  Time for extra merry festivities and good cheer -- and the fun kicks off this weekend with shopping during the day, followed by the 23rd Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade.
The parade starts at 7 p.m. at Main Street and U.S. 301 (Washington Blvd.) and goes down Main Street to Gulfstream Ave.  Marching bands, decorative floats, entertaining performers, and of course, the big jolly 'ol elf himself (Santa!) will take part in this special holiday tradition. 
Santa's arrival is a highlight of the Sarasota Holiday Parade. 
Please Note:  Downtown businesses will be open all Saturday, for holiday shopping.  
Parade preparations require:        
  • 9 a.m.  Main Street from U.S. 301 to Orange Ave. will close to vehicles 
  •  11 a.m. Main Street from Orange Ave. to U.S. 41 will close to  vehicles 
  •  3:30 p.m.  Main St./ Palm Ave. intersection will close 
  •  5 p.m.  Main St./Osprey Ave. and Main St./Orange Ave. intersections will close
For a list of temporary street closures click here.
While the parade starts at 7 p.m., spectators are encouraged to arrive early.  We suggest parking at one of the several public parking garages in downtown (State Street, Palm Avenue, 2nd Street) and enjoy a brief stroll to the parade route, taking in the holiday lights and festive atmosphere. 
As the parade goes by, SPD will reopen Main Street.  Festivities are expected to wrap up by 9 p.m.
Thanks to parade organizer (and former Vice Mayor) Danny Bilyeu and all the participants for their dedication to continuing this joyful Sarasota tradition.   
And, the parade isn't the only event going on in downtown Saturday night.  The Nutcracker will be playing at the Sarasota Opera House at 7 p.m.  So, downtown will be bustling with holiday activity.    
Holiday Boat Parade of Lights - Dec. 8    During the holiday season, parades are held on back-to-back weekends in Sarasota.   
Next weekend, the 33rd Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will illuminate the Bayfront. 
The parade starts at 6 p.m. on Sat. Dec. 8.  Dozens of boats, ranging in size from luxury yachts to petite dinghies, will be decorated with bright holiday flair and light up the night as they glide around the Bay. 
The Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will be held Sat. Dec. 8.

The most popular viewing areas are:  Bayfront Park, Marina Jack, City Island and Centennial Park.  
The parade route has been modified this year, so that all the entries will pass within a few yards of spectators along Bayfront Park.  Plan to arrive early to secure a viewing spot for you and the family. 
The Boat Parade of Lights is a fundraiser for the Suncoast Charities for Children.  In addition to a cash donation, 60 special needs children will attend the event with VIP seating for a close-up look at the decked out vessels. 
Thanks to all who help make this dazzling event a holiday classic in Sarasota.       
FDOT:  U.S. 41 Open House - Dec. 11    The Florida Department of Transportation is considering possible modifications to two intersections along the North Trail: Myrtle St. and Dr. MLK, Jr. Way.
The intersections are included in an overall plan to improve mobility along the north-south corridor (between the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and downtown Sarasota), increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, and boost sustainability.
FDOT is evaluating possible improvements at U.S. 41 and Dr. MLK Jr. Way. 
Three options are being considered by FDOT:
(1) Improve the existing signalized intersections
(2) Construct partial two-lane roundabouts at both intersections
(3) No action -- leave the intersections in their current state 
The first two options include the possibility for buffered bicycle lanes, and sidewalks up to 10-feet wide with 4-feet of separation from the road.
Currently, FDOT is conducting a Project Development and Environment (PD & E) study.  That means they will evaluate possible environmental effects associated with each alternative including wildlife impacts, wetlands, floodplains, noise and project costs.
An open house will be held Tues. Dec. 11 from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 John Rivers Street, where residents can learn more about the proposals.  A formal presentation will not be given; however, a video presentation will run continuously and FDOT staff will be on hand to answer questions and gather community input.
For more information visit the FDOT project website.

SNN City Report    SNN, the 24 hour news channel available locally via Comcast and based in downtown Sarasota, invited me recently to provide a brief update once a week about issues in our special city.
Recorded in the SNN studio, the 'City Report' provides an opportunity to highlight topics that are important to the City of Sarasota.  Since its launch almost two months ago, we've   touched on a wide range of subjects including the City's population, global warming, the City's new living seawall at Bayfront Park and the significant impact of Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the region.   
The next 'City Report' will cover an interesting topic:  the future of driverless cars and the potential impacts on municipal planning.
Tune in for that segment on SNN tonight (Friday, Nov. 30) at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. -- or catch up on previous segments via the SNN website.
With this new endeavor, I'm learning a lot about what goes on behind the scenes with TV news and production.  And with each taping, my appreciation grows for on-air personalities and their ability to deliver the news with such conversational ease.  It is indeed a special skill.  I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to sharing information with the community in this format. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Lion King makes its premiere at the Van Wezel in March 2019 -- and tickets are now on sale!

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live  
Tues., December 11 - 7:30 p.m. 
A Christmas Carol 
Sun., December 16 - 6 p.m.
Celtic Thunder X will be at the Van Wezel Dec. 18.

Itzhak Perlman: In The Fiddler's House 
Mon., December 17 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 7:30 p.m.
The Sound of Music 
Wed., December 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 20 -  2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker  
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
Sat., December 22 - 6:30 p.m.
On Your Feet! 
Catch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Dec. 22.

Wed., December 26 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., December 28 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., December 29 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 30 - 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. 

The Sweet Caroline Tour 
Mon., December 31 - 9 p.m.
Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert 
Wed., January 2 - 7 p.m.
Jay Leno 
Thurs., January 3 - 8 p.m.
Something Rotten!
Mon., January 7 - 7:30 p.m.
Tues., January 8 - 7:30 p.m.
3 Redneck Tenors 
Wed., January 9 - 8 p.m.
Blue Suede - The Premier Elvis Birthday Bash 
Thurs., January 10 - 8 p.m.
Air Supply 
Sun., January 13 - 7 p.m.
The Righteous Brothers 
Tues., January 15 - 8 p.m.

Linda Eder 
Thurs., January 17 - 8 p.m. 
Pilobolus Shadowland:  The New Adventure 
Tues., January 22 - 7:30 p.m.
Howie Mandel 
Wed., January 23 - 8 p.m.

The Midtown Men 
Fri., January 25 - 8 p.m.
Gladys Knight will perform at the Van Wezel Jan. 26.

Gladys Knight 
Sat., January 26 - 8 p.m.
Jerry Lee Lewis 
Sun., January 27 - 7 p.m.
Tony Orlando 
Mon., January 28 - 8 p.m.
Dick Fox's Golden Boys 
Tues., January 29 - 7:30 p.m.
Neil Berg's 110 Years of Broadway 
Wed., January 30 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 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