From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
June 28, 2019
With the heat index soaring well into the triple digits this week, one way to beat the heat is to grab large colorful umbrellas, beach chairs and water toys and head to beautiful Lido Beach.  Take a refreshing dip and rest in the shade!  During this particularly hot, dry spell, we're reminding all to avoid lengthy exposure to the direct sun, stay hydrated, seek shade and don't leave children or pets in vehicles for any length of time.


  • City Commission
    Mon., July 1 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., July 2 - 9 a.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., July 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
 City Fleet:  EVs Coming

During his recent visit to Sarasota, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Director Noah Valenstein commented that in his travels he believed Sarasota was perhaps the top environmentally conscious community in the state.    
Reflecting our residents, Sarasota has indeed been active in advancing sound environmental policies and practices.   Director Valenstein may be on to something as many of the projects currently underway in the city include major environmental features and reflect the environmental concerns of our residents.  
As sea levels rise and air and water temperatures continue to set new records most years, it makes sense that coastal communities take the lead in protecting our environment and do what we can to be exceptional stewards of our land, air and water.
For that reason, the City Commission's top goal in its strategic plan calls for proactive measures to preserve our environment. One element of this goal equates to reducing carbon pollution into the atmosphere, beginning with City operations.    
Today, motor vehicles are the single largest air polluters in the Sarasota city limits, responsible for 37 percent of all carbon emissions. The City fleet of 584 vehicles, contributes a significant 13 percent of all carbon emissions emanating from city operations. 
A portion of the City vehicle fleet. 
Although the efficiency of gas powered vehicles has improved dramatically in recent years, gas powered vehicles remain major polluters.  
So, to take a real step to reduce carbon emissions by city government, I have directed our Procurement Division and our largest departments to put together a plan that within five years will result in at least 90 percent of our City vehicle purchases or leases be electric vehicles.   I expect them to do that within current cost parameters and to make sure we have adequate re-charging station infrastructure in place in time to meet our goals.   This will include police vehicles, light duty trucks and even heavy trucks, if the industry can respond.    
If we can achieve this goal, our environment and residents will appreciate the cleanliness and quiet of our electrified municipal vehicle fleet.   If any Weekly Briefs readers know the auto executives in Detroit or Elon Musk, give them a heads up, we'll be giving them a call!     
Featured Job of the Week 

Other great opportunities!  

This Week's Items to Know:

Holiday Hours -  Thurs., July 4th    City administrative offices will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day and will reopen with regular business hours on Friday the 5th.
Residential garbage, recycling and yard waste pickup will be delayed one day. Thursday collection will occur on Friday, July 5, and regular Friday collection will be on Saturday, July 6.  
Hours of operation at our recreational facilities will vary and are posted on the City's websitePlease note:  Arlington Pool and the Children's Fountain will be closed on July 4th.  

As on all City observed holidays, time restrictions and paid parking will not be enforced.  
Following the holiday weekend, paid parking in the Downtown Parking District will begin the week of Monday, July 8th for pre-peak season acclimation.  This will include the judicial courthouse area on Ringling Blvd. followed by Main Street, and a portion of Palm Avenue (between Cocoanut Ave. and Ringling Blvd.).  The pay stations and traditional pole-mount meters will be the same as those installed earlier this year on St. Armands Circle. Those meters are working well (accepting coins, credit cards and a mobile app) and are helping to create parking space turnover as intended.  If you haven't done so already, you may want to consider downloading the ParkMobile app for convenience.
The Parking Operations Division, in concert with the Parking Advisory Committee, worked closely with downtown stakeholders informing them about the paid parking program and the launch date.  Expect to see much more information soon.   
July 4th Weekend - Special Events   Many events will be going on throughout Sarasota during the holiday weekend!

35th Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival: June 29 - July 7.  

This is a very popular event, which raises funds for Suncoast Charities for Children, and we expect thousands of race fans to head to Lido Beach for the festivities.  Please keep in mind the beach will be closed from 11 p.m. to sunrise during the event, so all items including beach chairs, blankets etc. must be removed each night.
We strongly encourage everyone to be especially mindful of our beloved wildlife when on the beach.  Sea turtles, black skimmers, snow plovers and least terns are all nesting right now and are protected species under state and federal laws.  Please be respectful and share the beach with these wonderful animals who live at Lido Beach.
As part of the Grand Prix, the "Boats on the Block" Block Party will be held in downtown Sarasota on Friday, July 5th from 6 p.m. to midnight.  Powerboats will be on display and Main Street will be closed from Orange Ave. to Gulfstream Ave. starting at 1:30 p.m. 
More information including the race schedule is available on 
Don't miss the Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular on
the Fourth of July.  (Photo:  Norm Schimmel)

Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular:  July 4 - approximately 9 p.m.
Join the fun festivities along the Bayfront!  Some excellent viewing sites include Bayfront Park, downtown, and Dr. Eloise Werlin Park to name a few.  Please carpool, arrive early and utilize the Palm Avenue Garage and State Street Garage. If possible, leave the car at home and enjoy a pleasant bike ride downtown or stroll to the fireworks.     
Lemon Ave. Streetscape - Lemon/Main Reopening Soon   Contractors have been very busy working on Phase I of the Lemon Avenue Streetscape, which involved temporarily closing the Lemon Ave./Main St. intersection to vehicular traffic since late May.
The curbs are being removed and bricks installed for a more pedestrian-friendly space and experience.  The area will mirror Lemon Ave. between Main St. and First St. adjacent to Mattison's, Salute and Sur La Table.   
Installing bricks at the Lemon Ave./Main St. intersection. 
A site visit late this week confirmed that contractors will indeed make their deadline to reopen the intersection in time for the July 4th holiday weekend and the powerboat block party.  In fact, chances are pretty good by the time you read this, the intersection will be open --- with beautiful brick inlay depicting a compass in the center of the intersection.  We expect the final product will be gorgeous and a good representation of our special city. 
Thank you to the downtown merchants for their patience and the loyal shoppers who have continued to patronize the area during the closure.  Please keep in mind this is the first phase.  Next up, contractors will be working south of the intersection heading toward Paul Thorpe Park and Pineapple Ave. 
Lido Beach - New Walkway   Just in time for the busy holiday weekend, the old wooden walkway leading from the Lido Beach pavilion down to the beach has been replaced with a sturdy, long lasting composite material.  
While the walkway extends only about 24 feet, it's an important access point for the beach -- and it looks much better!  Take a look at the before and after photos below. 
We greatly appreciate the contractor getting this work done in the heat of summer right before Lido will be filled with beachgoers enjoying the Fourth of July festivities.    
Before, during and after the new walkway.
Wireless Facilities Poles -  You may have noticed black poles being installed in the rights of way around town.  These are new "small cell" poles and cabinets being installed by Verizon for high speed networks.   
In 2017, the Florida state lawmakers passed legislation requiring local governments to allow these poles in the public right of way.  The legislation ties local government's hands in that there is very little we can do to regulate them.  We're required to review each application for completeness within 14 days and approve or deny (with limited criteria) the application within 60 days -- or it stands approved.  
A Verizon 5G pole and cabinet on Lemon Ave.
between Fruitville Rd. and Second St.

We also are limited to charging $150 per pole.  At this writing, we have received 28 applications from Verizon and the poles are going up.   
Since these "small cell" poles are central to high speed internet technology, we anticipate more telecommunications companies will express interest as the technology evolves.  Unfortunately, the state law prohibits local government from requiring multiple companies to use the same pole.   
When this issue first came to light, we were informed we were among the first communities in the nation prioritized for this new technology.  We're not sure if that remains the case.  We expect, though, we'll receive more applications in the months and years ahead as 5G technology catches on and becomes an essential component to advancing industries, even autonomous cars eventually.       
Sarasota in Motion - Online Survey Closes June 30    Our transportation planning team is closing out June with a strong finish!  They held two community visioning meetings earlier in the month and three community outreach sessions just within the past week talking with concert goers at Friday Fest and shoppers at Walmart and Lucky's Market.
We're consistently hearing from people that they're relieved to learn
One of several community outreach sessions about transportation in Sarasota. 
the City is working on a long term transportation plan.  A couple of emerging key themes include a desire for improved safety (whether one is driving, walking or bicycling), plus more and varied options for transit, such as small shuttles, trains, trolleys and buses.
If you haven't taken the Sarasota in Motion online survey yet, we encourage you to do so!  It closes Sunday, June 30.   
While those survey responses are compiled, an interactive map soon will be launched on so you can provide us with location specific feedback about transportation opportunities and challenges.
There's much more work to do and we appreciate everyone's participation!   
Parks & Recreation - Summer Camp   It's a very busy time this summer for our Parks & Recreation staff with summer camps going on at Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex and the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex!
The camps are providing kids and grandkids opportunities to meet new friends, take field trips, and learn from special guests about interesting, kid-friendly topics.  And, Bobby Jones Golf Club is hosting camp as well with staff teaching junior golfers the skills they need to enjoy the
Campers this week at DeSoto National Memorial Park.
game for years to come. 
This week's theme at Arlington Park was "treasure hunt". The children learned how to follow a compass, draw a map and create scavenger hunts. They also painted their own treasure box and went on a buried treasure hunt before taking a field trip to DeSoto National Memorial Park.
Campers at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex explored the deep blue sea this week with special interactive learning sessions hosted by marine life experts with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.  They also visited Mote in person and observed the creatures they had learned about. 
Big thanks to our Parks & Rec staff for their dedication and creativity in organizing fun, educational days for all the young campers!   

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Friday Fest - Rebel Heart 
Fri., July 19 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
Friday Fest - Reverend Barry and the Funk 
Fri., August 16 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
Friday Fest - Ari and the Alibis 
Fri., September 20 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
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

Weekly Briefs will be on hiatus until July 12.  Have a safe, relaxing and fun holiday!
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Tom Barwin
City Manager