From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
December 2, 2016

Photo of the Week
3...2....1...!  Santa himself arrived in Sarasota to light the tree at Selby Five Points Park Thursday evening!  Hosted by the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, it was a fun, festive evening filled with holiday music and many families mingling with Santa.  Tonight (Friday, Dec. 2), we'll welcome the holiday season at St. Armands Circle with the 38th Annual Holiday Night.  Festivities start at 6 p.m. and include a special visit from Santa, tree lighting and Christmas carol sing-along.  And, read on for details about Saturday evening's annual Downtown Holiday Parade!


  • City Commission
    Mon., December 5 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., December 6 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Cmte.
    Wed., December 7 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Firefighters' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Wed., December 7 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Citizen Tax Oversight Cmte.    
    Thurs., December 8 - 2 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Trepass Hearings - 16-047357
    Thurs., December 8 - 3:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.  

Application Developer
Commission Reporter
Education Associate
Golf Course Attendant (PT)
Irrigation Tech
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part Time)
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Payroll Specialist I
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Senior Pension Analyst      

This Week's Items to Know:
Lido Beach - Long Term Project   After hosting a well attended open house earlier this week to answer questions and gain additional public input, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is poised to make a determination on the Lido Beach shoreline protection project.

Although the project began over 20 years ago, during the past three years, the plans have gone through extensive review by the U.S. Army
An open house attendee studying information about the project. 
Corps of Engineers (ACE) and independent peer reviews.  No significant concerns have been raised by federal or state agencies. Sophisticated computer modeling shows the beach renourishment will not change the volume of sand on Siesta Key beach and the project would not effect the quality of the human environment.

Over the years, aerial photography has documented significant accretion of sand from Lido into growing Big Pass shoals in close proximity to Lido Beach.

This much needed project proposes to recycle the accreted sand back to Lido Beach to maintain an 80-foot berm plus a beach area averaging 96-feet, spanning 1.5 miles along the shoreline.  Lido Beach will be replenished with recycled sand every few years for 50 years with federal, state and local government participation.

The infrastructure and wildlife on Lido Beach need protection from the forces of Mother Nature, and with that in mind, City staff has worked closely with ACE to preserve and protect the shoreline.  This long term program will
reduce expected storm damage, maintain a suitable environment for seabirds and turtles, and continue Lido Beach as a recreation destination.
City Engineer Alex DavisShaw explaining the project to an open house attendee.

In response to public input, the City and Army Corps have created permit provisions which require that Siesta Key, Big Pass and Lido will be closely monitored.  If any negative or unanticipated impacts occur from the project, timely adjustments to the plan will be made to address them.  This is similar to arrangements with Longboat Key and recycling sand from New Pass, which have been very successful.

Thanks to City Engineer Alex DavisShaw for shepherding this project through an extraordinarily long and complex process, and to the Lido Key residents for their insights and persistence in pursuing an environmentally smart and sustainable project.  

FDEP will accept public input on the project until December  15.  Comments should be sent to: or 
Holiday Parade:  Sat., Dec. 3rd - 7 p.m. The Downtown Holiday Parade will head down Main Street tomorrow night (Sat. Dec. 3)! 

Although the event starts at 7 p.m., Public Works crews will begin setting up parade barricades as early as 9 a.m.  While these preparations are underway, the usual streets will be closed for the weekly Downtown Farmers Market.  So, please plan ahead and bring your patience when you come downtown tomorrow!  A list of scheduled road closures can be found here.

Santa is always a crowd pleaser at the Downtown Holiday Parade.

This is the first year the Downtown Holiday Parade will be spearheaded by someone other than Paul "Mr. Downtown" Thorpe, since he turned over the reins last year.  At the helm now, is Danny Bilyeu, former City Commissioner and current field representative for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.  With Danny's love of the Sarasota community, we're confident the parade is in good hands.  In fact, we're told participation is up this year -- and two dozen more floats will be in the parade.   Hope to see you there!   

Van Wezel - Record Sales   While many enjoyed a long holiday weekend, our dedicated employees at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall were busy, busy, busy on Black Friday and
Van Wezel Interior
Inside the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. 
Cyber Monday!

Ticket sales shattered expectations -- up 20 percent!  In fact, it was the best 4-day sale the Van Wezel has experienced -- even better than last year's record sales.

In total, 3,780 tickets were sold resulting in $172,462 in sales.  Revenue-wise that translates into a 60 percent increase from Thanksgiving 2015.

Executive Director Mary Bensel is doing a great job attracting diverse, popular performances to the Hall, where there is something for everyone to enjoy. Congratulations to Mary and her hard working staff who put in the long hours at the box office and answering the phones.

Parking - FPA Top Honors   Great news!  We learned this morning that our Parking Supervisor, Cheryl Woodard, received top honors for the Florida Parking Association's Carol Eastering Award!  You may recall, Cheryl was one of three state finalists for the award which recognizes
Cheryl Woodard received the Carol Easterling Award during the FPA conference this week near Orlando.

exemplary professionalism in the parking industry within Florida.

Honored for her work ethic, diligence and commitment, Cheryl's outstanding achievement now will be recognized by the International Parking Institute.  Also, as the grand prize winner, her registration fees for next year's FPA conference will be waived -- plus, she'll receive a $350 cash prize.  Congratulations!

We're proud of Cheryl's daily efforts with the City, and her dedication being recognized by her peers in the parking profession.  And, thanks to Parking Manager Mark Lyons for encouraging Cheryl over the years as her job responsibilities transitioned -- and for getting the ball rolling and nominating her for this prestigious award.  Keep up the great work!

Saprito Pier Cleanup     Before Thanksgiving we put out a request in Weekly Briefs seeking volunteers for an inaugural cleanup of the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier and we wanted to provide you with an
Volunteers at the Saprito Fishing Pier cleanup. 
Photo courtesy:  Rusty Chinnis.
update.  The cleanup was a tremendous success!

Many volunteers showed up bright and early on a Saturday morning with their own scuba gear and kayaks ready to lend a hand to remove debris around the pier. Lots of stuff was plucked from the bay including discarded fishing line, an old tire and even a laptop computer.  Check out this compilation video produced for Sarasota Bay Watch by Ernesto Lasso de la Vega. It even includes underwater video! 

Many thanks to Sarasota Bay Watch for coordinating the event and our SPD marine patrol for literally diving in to help.  Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes was also on hand for the event which emphasized bringing the community together to help improve the quality of one of our most precious natural resources in Sarasota.  Thanks to all!

SPD Marine Patrol Officer Mike Skinner retrieving a discarded tire from Sarasota Bay. 
Photo courtesy:  Rusty Chinnis. 

SPD - Lock Your Vehicles!   SPD is reminding everyone to lock their vehicles!  During this hectic holiday season, it's especially important to take a moment and lock your car doors.  We're receiving reports of car burglaries in the city limits which could have been prevented just by locking the doors. 

Would-be burglars are looking for easy prey and some are tugging on car door handles to see if the car is locked.  SPD has received reports of laptop computers, tablets, cell phones, eyeglasses -- even cash being stolen.  This can happen quickly.  So, never leave your car open and unattended.  Also, SPD recommends that you secure packages or belongings out of sight -- in the trunk or under a blanket.

Enjoy peace of mind this season....and lock it up!   
Coffee with a Cop - Dec. 8   If you're looking for a break from holiday shopping and festivities, consider stopping by SPD's next Coffee with a Cop, scheduled for Thurs., December 8 at 8:30 a.m. at the 12th Street Cafe.

Since its launch in Sarasota a few years ago, Coffee with a Cop has become a popular way for residents to get to know SPD officers in a relaxed setting over a cup of joe.  The more citizens and officers can relate to each other and have conversations, the better it is for the community as a whole.  At Coffee with a Cop, you can talk about whatever is on your mind:  neighborhood patrols, crime prevention, homeless outreach -- you name it!  There's no agenda.

We appreciate the 12th Street Cafe hosting the event.  The cafe is located at 1100 N. Tuttle Ave. (behind 7-11 at the corner of 12th St. & Tuttle Ave.) 

Upcoming Events 

Gem & Jewelry Show
Municipal Auditorium
Fri., Dec. 2 - Sun., Dec. 4
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
Holiday Night on St. Armands 
St. Armands Circle 
Fri., Dec. 2 
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.  

Yoga in the Park 
Bayfront Park
Sat., Dec. 3
8 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Downtown Holiday Parade 
Main Street
Sat., Dec. 3
7 p.m.

Run for the Birds 
Ed Smith Stadium & Vicinity
Sun., Dec. 4
8 a.m.

Coffee with a Cop 
12th Street Cafe - 1100 N. Tuttle Ave.
Thurs., Dec. 8
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through 2016. For more information visit    

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: The New World
Fri., December 2 - 8 p.m.
Sat., December 3 - 8 p.m.
Sun., December 4 - 2:30 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Orchestra

Fame The Musical
Wed., December 7 - 7 p.m.

Oak Ridge Boys' Christmas
Sat., December 10 - 8 p.m.

Beach Boys 'Christmas'
Mon., December 12 - 7:30 p.m.

Garrison Keillor
Tues., December 13 - 8 p.m.
  42nd Street will be at the Van Wezel on Dec. 30.


The Sarasota Ballet - George Balanchine's Jewels
Fri., December 16 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., December 17 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Ballet Website

A Christmas Carol
Wed., December 21 - 8 p.m.
Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Tues., December 27 - 7 p.m.
Wed., December 28 - 7 p.m.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Thurs., December 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

42nd Street
Fri., December 30 - 8 p.m.

Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert
Tues., January 3 - 7 p.m.

My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy
Thurs., January 5 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Beethoven & Brahms
Fri., January 6 - 8 p.m.
Sat., January 7 - 8 p.m.
Sun., January 8 - 2:30 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Orchestra Website

Dirty Dancing
Tues., January 10 - 8 p.m.
Wed., January 11 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Matthew Morrison
Thurs., January 12 - 8 p.m.

Jay Leno
Fri., January 13 - 8 p.m.
Jay Leno will perform at the Van Wezel on Jan. 13. 


Dick Fox's Golden Boys starring Frankie Avalon, Fabian & Bobby Rydell
Sat., January 14 - 8 p.m.

Michael Bolton
Sun., January 15 - 7 p.m.

Engelbert Humperdinck
Mon., January 16 - 8 p.m.

Elvis Lives
Tues., January 17 - 8 p.m.

Zoltan Maga
Wed., January 18 - 8 p.m.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/Wynton Marsalis
Thurs., January 19 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra-Pops: The Songs of Elton John and More starring Michael Cavanaugh
Fri., January 20 - 8 p.m.
Sat., January 21 - 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Tickets - Sarasota Orchestra Website

Adam Trent:  The Futurist
Sun., January 22 - 7 p.m.

Tues., January 24 - 8 p.m.
Riverdance will be at the Van Wezel Jan. 24 & 25.

Wed., January 25 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Spend the Night with Billy Crystal
Thurs., January 26 - 8 p.m.

Kenny Rogers - Final World Tour

Fri., January 27 - 8 p.m.

Gladys Knight
Sat., January 28 - 8 p.m.

Johnny Mathis
Sun., January 29 - 7 p.m.

Boz Scaggs
Tues., January 31 - 8 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

Tom Barwin
City Manager