From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 30, 2019
Amidst the ongoing construction on Lemon Avenue, flowers are appearing!  Well...actually, a floral mural called "Flora Urbana" by artist Danny Doya is being painted on the east side of The Mark.  Approved by the Public Art Committee last spring, the mural fulfills the developer's public art requirement.  When completed, the original painting will be visible along the Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue frontages. Construction continues on The Mark, a $70 million mixed use development in the heart of downtown, with 157 condos and retail space.


  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tuesday, Sept. 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • City Commission
    Tuesday, Sept. 3 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wednesday, Sept. 4 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Community Workshop
    Wednesday, Sept. 4 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wednesday, Sept. 4 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

Hurricane Dorian:  
Monitoring & Preparing

For the past several days, City staff have been closely monitoring Hurricane Dorian.  As of this writing, our City Emergency Operations Center is operating at Level II and we plan to continue monitoring the storm over the holiday weekend. While the projected path of the storm remains uncertain and could continue to change, departments began activating their hurricane preparedness plans based on the amount of work that needs to be done in advance.

Mid-week, the Landscaping Division within the Parks & Recreation Department began documenting park assets with photographs, including time and date stamps.  In the event there is storm damage, these images are necessary to show FEMA adjusters the condition of the assets pre-storm.  Assets being documented include playgrounds, boat ramps, seawalls, piers and docks.  Also, as part of the preparedness plan, crews are removing unsecured items from parks such as picnic tables and taking them to a safe location for temporary storage.
Parks & Recreation crews are temporarily removing unsecured items from the City's 55 parks until the threat of Hurricane Dorian has passed.  
The Public Works Department is clearing debris from storm drains prior to the possible arrival of heavy, tropical rains.  And, the City's building inspectors have been in direct contact with builders advising them of the City's expectations for construction site storm preparedness.  Materials, especially construction items on high floors, must be secured or removed.
While we emphasize we do not know Dorian's exact path and possible impacts to Sarasota, we encourage everyone to review their family's hurricane plan.  Do you know your residence's hurricane evacuation level?  Please visit to enter your address and find out.  For those taking prescription medications, do you have several days' supply on hand?  Non-perishable food?  Water?  Flashlights?  And, remember the family pets will need food and water too.  FEMA recommends having at least a 3-day supply for every member of the family.
We will work closely with our partners at Sarasota County, National Weather Service, State of Florida and local media outlets to provide the latest updates and information.  We also encourage you to follow the City of Sarasota on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.  
Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering briefing department heads and key personnel  
Friday morning on Hurricane Dorian.

Thanks to Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering for keeping a close eye on the storm and providing preparedness guidance in a calm, steady manner, which is necessary and reassuring to the community during a time like this.   
We hope everyone uses portions of the Labor Day holiday weekend to get storm ready and that Dorian's bark is worse than its bite. 

Featured Job of the Week 

Other great opportunities!  

This Week's Items to Know:

Labor Day:  Holiday Schedule - Sept. 2   City Hall and most administrative offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 2 as we observe the national Labor Day holiday.   
Garbage and recycling will not be collected Monday, Sept. 2.  Pickup will be delayed one day.  So, regular Monday collection will be on Tuesday and regular Tuesday pickup will be on Wednesday.  
Parks and Recreation facilities may have special holiday hours, so please check ahead by visiting the City's website or contact the facility directly.  
The regular City Commission meeting remains planned for Tuesday the 3rd starting at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.  In the event the meeting is cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian, a notice will be posted on the City's website, social media channels and shared with our local media partners.    
Children's Fountain - Fall Hours    Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer and with the kids and grandkids back in school, fall hours will take effect at the popular Children's Fountain at Bayfront Park after the holiday. 
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 3, hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day
Fall hours are effective the day after Labor Day.

weather permitting.   
With refreshing water bubbling and spurting into the air for the little ones to run through and colorful animal sculptures dotting the area, the Children's Fountain is a family favorite venue for cooling down on a warm Florida day.  The fountain is free and located right on beautiful Sarasota Bay offering picturesque views while the kids play.       
Please note:  Due to Hurricane Dorian, the fountain will be temporarily closed effective Sunday, Sept. 1 until the threat of the storm passes.  
"Smart Traffic" - Real Time Traffic Info   Heading out and wondering what traffic is like on the other side of town?  To help make informed decisions with route choice, departure time and more, the Smart Traffic traveler website offers drivers real-time information:  
Operated by the Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC), the
Camera view at Fruitville/U.S. 301 
website provides traffic updates and a cyber look at dozens of intersections in Sarasota and Manatee counties via 400 live cameras.
The website lets you see for yourself what the traffic flow is like and whether you may want to re-route or your reschedule your drive. 
This cyber tool is a helpful way to "know before you go" and re-route away from construction zones and traffic congestion.   
RTMC is also on Twitter with the handle @941_Traffic  
As a reminder, this information should be gathered prior to setting out on your commute ---NOT while you're behind the wheel.  
The Smart Traffic website was recognized with an outstanding achievement award by the Intelligent Transportation Society of Florida.  
Critical Incident Considerations    Unfortunately, the recent horrific shootings in Texas and Ohio are reminders that we as a city must always be prepared to respond to a critical incident.
Last week, Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown attended a seminar focusing on critical incident considerations for local government officials.  Hosted by the National Tactical Officers Association, firsthand accounts regarding training and response were provided about the mass shootings at Pulse nightclub, Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Santa Fe, Texas High School and Washington, D.C. Navy Yard.
Discussions included the importance of communicating with the public, family reunification, memorial considerations, potential impacts to nearby businesses and the availability of crisis counselors for first responders, survivors and the community.
I want to emphasize that we have no reason to believe there is a credible threat to our community, but we must remain vigilant.  And, training and shared information from those who have endured the unthinkable is vital.
Thanks to Marlon for attending the seminar, which he describes as informative, frightening, sad and captivating.  And, thanks to Chief DiPino and the SPD who have multiple operational plans in place and are well equipped and prepared to respond should the need arise.  
And remember, if you see or hear something suspicious say something to authorities. 
Van Wezel - 50th Anniversary Season    On January 5, 1970, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall opened to the Sarasota community with a captivating performance of "Fiddler on the Roof".
50 years later the "purple cow", as the Van Wezel is affectionately known, is recognized in the industry as one of the top performing arts halls in the U.S. with under 2,000 seats.  Strong community support boosts our ability to attract star studded productions including incredible Broadway musicals, concerts and variety shows.    
Earlier this week, the Van Wezel's full 2019-20 season was announced, and seeing the headlines, it's clear Executive Director Mary Bensel and her outstanding staff once again have worked tirelessly to assemble an amazing, diverse selection of entertaining performances. From laugh out loud comedy, festive holiday shows, a thrilling Broadway musical offering including seven Sarasota premieres as well as returning favorites such as "Les Miserables", this will be a season you won't want to miss!
The Van Wezel Foundation is the presenting sponsor for the 50th anniversary season.  We appreciate their continued generous commitment to excellence at the Van Wezel, including supporting the Schooltime Performances for children which brings thousands of students from the region to the Hall each year to experience the cultural arts in person. 
Tickets for all individual shows go on sale Saturday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. at, in person at the Box Office (777 N. Tamiami Trail) or by phone at 941-953-3368. 

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit                                  
Friday Fest - Ari and the Alibis 
Fri., September 20 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event

Once:  The Musical 
Wed., October 9
Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock & Roll:  Part III 
Fri., November 1
Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly - The Rock 'N' Roll Dream Tour 
Mon., November 4  

Dwight Yoakam 
Sat., November 16
Straight No Chaser:  The Open Bar Tour 
Sun., November 17
Latin History for Morons 
Tues., November 19
Cirque Dreams Holidaze 
Fri., November 22
Sat., November 23
Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2019 
Fri., November 29
Sebastian Maniscalco:  You Bother Me 
Sat., November 30
The Book of Mormon 
January 7-12, 2020
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons 
Sun., February 9, 2020
Johnny Mathis - The Voice of Romance Tour 
Thurs., April 16, 2020
The Bachelor Live on Stage 
Thurs., May 7, 2020
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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager