From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
September 28, 2018

The games were in full swing on a beautiful Thursday morning this week at Payne Park Tennis Center. The facility was briefly closed to allow for the transition of operations and maintenance responsibilities back to the City from Sarasota County (more details below). On Thursday, all 12 clay courts were full and the players were buzzing about the new City staff and the improvements we have in store for this well-loved, well-used facility, located in the heart of our special city.


  • City Commission
    Mon., October 1 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., October 2 - 9 a.m.

    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., October 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

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

Commercial Plans Examiner
Commission Reporter
Crew Leader I - Refuse Collection
Crew Leader I - Landscaping
Deputy City Auditor & Clerk
Equipment Mechanic III - Refuse Collection
Financial Accountant
GIS Coordinator
Information Technology Manager
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Office Assistant - Payne Park
Parking Enforcement Specialist
Parking Garage Attendant
Parking Meter Maintenance Tech
Park & Rec - Facility Maintenance Tech - Part Time
Parks & Rec - Head Life Guard
Parks & Rec - Life Guard - Part Time
Parks Service Worker - Part Time
Part-Time Garage Attendant
Pension Plans Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Property and Evidence Specialist
Rec Attendant - RLTCC
Refuse Equipment Operator, Residential - Parks
Senior Internal Auditor
Solid Waste Helper - Parks

     Volunteer/Unpaid Intern    

This Week's Items to Know:

Parks Transition    The parks transition is officially underway!  The City took back the Payne Park Tennis Center on Thursday, September 27.  After being closed for a couple of days to transition
equipment, install computers and telephone lines, the facility reopened to the public early Thursday morning, as promised.
City employee Jim Reese establishing connectivity between the Payne Park Tennis Center and the City's computer system.

The day before, the Parks & Recreation Department hosted a well attended community meeting, where tennis players had the chance to meet our talented City staff and share their ideas and visions for the facility with us.  
On October 1st, the City will take back four other parks properties:   
  • Centennial Park and Boat Ramp
  • Ken Thompson Park
  • Lawn Bowling
  • Arlington Park & Aquatic Facility

The Arlington Park rec center is temporarily closed while it is deep cleaned, equipment is moved and the facility is rewired for the City's computer and telephone systems.  It will reopen to the public on October 1st.  

The parks transition has been a Herculean effort with many changing
Deep cleaning underway at the Arlington Park rec center.

dynamics, requiring inter-departmental coordination and teamwork with our Human Resources Department, Information Technology Department, Finance Department and Parks & Recreation Department -- from hiring and training new employees to establishing wireless connectivity at facilities to procuring equipment.  Kudos to all, especially Parks & Rec Director Jerry Fogle and his team who are working tirelessly to make the transition as smooth as possible for the community. 
Needs assessments will be considered for these five properties, which will be woven into the City's Parks Master Plan.  That, and a dedicated funding source for the care and upkeep of our treasured parks, will be considered by the City Commission in the coming months.     
Emergency Beach Renourishment    Bids were opened last week for the emergency renourishment of Lido Beach and through a combination of FEMA, State of Florida, Sarasota County and City dollars, the $3.9 million necessary for this project is in place and we're ready to begin moving sand this fall.   
Those who have walked the beach recently have witnessed the extreme erosion firsthand. We've been very fortunate to get this far into hurricane season without a significant storm pummeling the shore, resulting in more lost beach and leaving the nearby infrastructure vulnerable or even damaged.   
January 2015 - The most recent Lido Beach renourishment
Our goal is to get the project moving as soon as possible, and the selected contractor will be required to start no later than November 14.    
Sand will be pumped from New Pass, where it has been building up, and moved to Lido Beach.  Approximately 150,000 to 200,000 cubic yards of sand will be placed from North Lido Beach to South Lido.  We anticipate this emergency short-term fix will be mostly in place by February 2019. 
The long-term project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Col. Andrew D. Kelly, Commander, Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and City Engineer Alex Davis Shaw reviewing the project partner agreement during the 2018 Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association Conference.  

will begin next September or Fall 2019.  Just last week, our City Engineer Alex Davis Shaw, who has doggedly shepherded the long and short term renourishment projects for years, signed the project partner agreement with the Army Corps.  This provides a funding source for Lido Beach renourishment for the next 50 years, with sand being recycled to the beach when necessary-- approximately every five years.  This is a very significant initiative which will move us away from responding to storms on a crisis basis to long-term planned, reliable shoreline protection.  As sea levels are predicted to rise and weather patterns are increasingly volatile, this initiative could not have occurred at a more critical time.       
Living Seawall - Installation Soon   We're excited to announce installation is scheduled to begin next month on the much anticipated living seawall at Bayfront Park adjacent to O'Leary's.
This project is an excellent example of supporting local business and local innovation.  Created by Reef Innovations, based in Sarasota, the living seawall will be comprised of 34 marine-friendly concrete modules designed to slow and absorb wave action and reduce shoreline erosion.  The reef-like modules are created with crevices and holes cut into them to attract a variety of fish.  So, as we recover from the devastating effects of red tide on our marine life, this living seawall is expected to help restore and enhance the volume of fish along our Bayfront.
The living seawall has been lead as a partnership between our Sustainability program and Public Works Department, specifically Stevie Freeman-Montes, Mike DelRossi and Bob Heggan.  We appreciate the work of Larry Beggs and his team at Reef Innovations for his impressive operation and efforts towards environmental sustainability.  Todd Barber of the Reefball Foundation and Vera Z. Cole have been critical to the design of these modules that not only have environmental benefits but also integrate artwork to highlight our native species. 
Surrounded by living reef modules.  L to R:  Vera Z Cole, Littoral Artist; Tom Barwin; Todd Barber, Reef Ball Foundation Chairman; Stevie Freeman-Montes, Sustainability Manager

Installation of the living seawall will be dependent upon the weather and red tide effects, but as of this writing, crews will begin staging Monday, October 8.   The placement of the living seawall is set to begin the following day, October 9, with the project wrapping up within a week. Bayfront Park and O'Leary's will remain open to the public during the installation.   
Once in place, our partners at Mote Marine Laboratory will study the biology, water quality, sediment structure and wave energy and compare that information with baseline readings taken before installation. This scientific data will help us better understand the impact and performance of the living seawall and guide future shoreline protection projects, especially as we consider options for adaptation to climate change. 

St. Armands Garage - On Schedule     A significant construction milestone was achieved last week with the St. Armands Garage -- it was topped off at four parking levels with the moment commemorated with the temporary planting of an American flag.  
Vertical construction for the St. Armands garage is now completed.

A total of 470 precast concrete structural components were used for the project and now crews will focus on the interior of the structure When finished, approximately 500 parking spaces will be available -- 5 EV charging stations -- 2 public restrooms, two elevators and 3 open stairways (with an unique exterior stair enhancing safety and a quick exit from the garage), and an interior lightwell with a wraparound stair case offering a unique sense of place 
Under the guidance of City staff, project engineer Kimley-Horn, architect Solstice Architects, and construction contractor Jon F. Swift Construction/Haskell, the project is on schedule and the new parking garage is scheduled to open in December.    
Free Tree Giveaway    The City is once again giving away free trees to residents as part of our fourth Community Canopy program, a great example of how we are supporting energy efficiency, wildlife habitat, and renewable energy in our community as outlined in our recent Ready for 100 initiative.
Starting Monday, Oct. 1, City residents can log on to and reserve one tree per household. You can enter your address and use a calculator tool to estimate the annual energy savings from planting a tree in the most strategic location on your property. There are three Florida-friendly species available (Crape myrtle, dahoon holly, red maple), and registrants will have a one-gallon tree delivered to their home.
The environmental and economic benefits of the program are numerous. It's estimated the more than 450 trees we've given away so far will absorb more than 7,500 pounds of air pollutants and filter more than 22 million gallons of stormwater when mature. Also, participating residents will have saved over 850,000 kilowatt hours of energy by planting the right trees in the right places to shade their homes. That's a total of more than $200,000 in combined energy and community benefits alone - not to mention the bonus of bolstering our urban canopy and beautifying our already tree-friendly City.
The Community Canopy program has proven to be very popular in the past, and tree supplies are limited, so you'll want to register as soon as the website begins accepting registrants on Monday.
For more information, visit or call the Arbor Day Foundation at 855-234-3801 with any technical questions you may have about signing up online.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Van Wezel's full 2018-2019 season is now on sale. (The Lion King goes on sale November 2.)   
To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 

Legends of Yesteryear 
Sat., September 29 - 7 p.m.

Eddie Izzard 
Thurs., October 11 - 8 p.m.

Lord of the Dance 
Sun., October 14 - 7 p.m.
Kenny G 
Fri., October 19 - 8 p.m.
Bob Dylan & His Band 
Bob Dylan & His Band will perform Oct. 21.

Sun., October 21 - 8 p.m.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story 
Sat., October 27 - 8 p.m.
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen 
Tues., November 6 - 8 p.m.
Capitol Steps  
Wed., November 7 - 8 p.m.
Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock & Roll Part II 
Fri., November 9 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular Vol. 3 
Sat., November 10 - 7:30 p.m.
Young Guns of Country 2018
Sun., November 11 - 7 p.m.
Stills & Collins 
Fri., November 16 - 8 p.m.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
Sat., November 17 - 8 p.m. 
Beyond Glory
Mon., November 19 - 7:30 p.m. 
Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 
Fri., November 23 - 8 p.m.
KC and the Sunshine Band 
Sat., November 24 - 8 p.m. 
Black Violin 
Tues., November 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Jim Brickman:  A Joyful Christmas 
Wed., November 28 - 7:30 p.m. 
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.
The Sound of Music will be at the Van Wezel Dec. 19 & 20.

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! 
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.

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