From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
January 25, 2019

On MLK Day, a group of residents from the predominantly African-American Newtown community made a significant trek to Lido Beach to commemorate their courageous fight to integrate the beach.   Back in the day, they would caravan to Lido Key, where they defiantly held  "wade-ins" to desegregate the beach. The significance of these historic caravans is what led the Newtown Heritage Trail to be added recently to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which spans 15 states with over 100 locations.  To commemorate this national recognition, Newtown Alive! and Visit Sarasota County arranged for original caravan participants and  their descendants to caravan to Lido Beach on MLK Day and wade into the water as the brave activists did prior to integration.  It wasn't until after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Sarasota's public beaches became fully integrated.  We appreciate VSC and Newtown Alive! facilitating this special day and working to successfully place Newtown as the southernmost site on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.   (Photo Courtesy:  Visit Sarasota County)


  • Historic Preservation Board (Special Meeting)
    Tues., January 29 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID - Workshop
    Wed., January 30 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Tree Advisory Committee
    Wed., January 30 - 3 p.m.
Featured Job of the Week 

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This Week's Items to Know:

Lido Beach - Progress Report    Those heading out to Lido Beach will enjoy a refreshed beach, which is now providing a much needed buffer between the Gulf of Mexico and nearby public infrastructure.  The emergency renourishment, using sand recycled from the New Pass channel, is approximately 40 percent finished, and the results are calming and providing us with a great amount of relief. 
Dredging crews have completed the beach adjacent to the pavilion and concession stand and are continuing to work southward averaging about 150 feet of shoreline a day.
Before and after photos highlight the critical need to restore this buffer, which also is home to much sea life, including turtles and wading birds.  

Lido Beach in November 2018 compared to January 2019. 
Even without tropical weather directly impacting the Sarasota area last summer, the beach erosion was significant.  Going into hurricane season in June, Lido Beach will be restored and we will be in a much safer position to be protected from whatever Mother Nature brings.
Last week, 12th Circuit Court Judge Andrea McHugh ruled in favor of the City in a lawsuit filed by the Siesta Key Association in connection with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' long-term restoration project.  The Corps tells us they're on track to begin renourishment in September, then replace sand on an as-needed basis rather than waiting for the beach to erode to a critically dangerous point.  Once again, we pledge to collaborate with all interested parties to monitor the shorelines, boating channels and environment at unprecedented levels and adapt to the threat of rising sea levels.  
Ready for 100 - Community Update     Our Sustainability team, along with five community partners, hosted a progress meeting this week on where we stand with the City's Ready for 100 initiative.  
Over three dozen dedicated individuals attended the forum to learn about our next steps, including updates on 12+ strategies to help us reach our ambitious
Ready for 100 community update
meeting on Jan. 23, 2019. 
goal to replace fossil fuels with clean renewable energy.    
The Ready for 100 initiative has two targets:  power the Sarasota community with 100 percent renewable energy sources before 2045 and City of Sarasota facilities/operations before 2030.
And, staff announced we're making progress with a viable clean energy source, which would move the needle significantly toward reaching the City facilities/operations goal and ultimately a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly Sarasota. 
We're discussing a potential partnership with Florida Power & Light that would allow the City to use solar energy to power 72 percent of our operations by 2021.  With minimal upfront costs for the City, the Solar Together program is a very attractive, large scale clean energy initiative by FPL.  It needs to go to the Florida Public Service Commission for approval this spring, but we're optimistic about this innovative option and will present it to the City Commission on February 4.  The Parks & Recreation and Environmental Protection Advisory Board recently supported City participation in the program, and the vast majority of those in attendance at the Ready for 100 meeting (86 percent) would like to see it happen.  More details on the Solar Together program coming soon!
Thanks to Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes and Utilities Director Bill Riebe for their leadership with the FPL solar initiative and positioning the City early on to be considered for the  program.  
The next Ready for 100 community meeting will be held in July.    
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Readers' Choice Award   Congratulations are in order for our historic municipal golf course, Bobby Jones Golf Club!  Once again, this community jewel was voted Best Golf Course in Sarasota in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's annual Readers' Choice awards.   
Bobby Jones has received this accolade 20 times in the past 22  years.  Not only is that remarkable, it's a testament to the community's appreciation of this special green space, which is now in its 93rd year as a municipal golf course.
We appreciate staff's dedication to this 45-hole facility and making each visitor's experience the best it can be.   
In the near future, golf course architect Richard Mandell will return to the City Commission to finalize details of the Bobby Jones Master Plan with all 45 holes renovated as approved by the Commission last month.   
Saprito Pier Benches - Thoughts?   Have you visited the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier in the past few months? If so, you've probably noticed the metal benches our Parks and Recreation Department installed there back in the fall.

The team has been testing various placements of the benches on the pier to gauge what works best for the anglers and other visitors who frequent this tranquil spot, located just off the Ringling Causeway. They're also considering adding some shade structures for those who just want a respite from the Florida sun.
One of the benches recently placed at the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier. 
We recently posted images of the benches on the City's social media pages and received lots of positive feedback. If you haven't weighed in yet, please email your comments to - your opinion is important to us.  

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 

The Midtown Men 
Fri., January 25 - 8 p.m.
Gladys Knight 
Sat., January 26 - 8 p.m.
Jerry Lee Lewis 
Sun., January 27 - 7 p.m.
Neil Berg's 110 Years of Broadway will be at the Van Wezel Jan. 30.  

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.
Travis Tritt 
Tues., February 5 - 8 p.m.
Lord of 52nd Street 
Wed., February 6 - 8 p.m.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 
Thurs., February 7 - 8 p.m.
Patti LaBelle 
Fri., February 8 - 8 p.m.
New Shanghai Circus 
Sun., February 10 - 3 p.m.
New Shanghai Circus
will perform Feb. 10. 

Boston Pops on Tour 
Tues., February 12 - 8 p.m.
Michael Bolton: Symphony Sessions 
Wed., February 13 - 8 p.m.
Carol Burnett 
Thurs., February 14 - 7:30 p.m.
Dancing With The Stars 
Fri., February 15 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 16 - 8:30 p.m.
Sun., February 17 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Finding Neverland 
Tues., February 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Wed., February 20 - 7:30 p.m.
Bernadette Peters 
Fri., February 22 - 8 p.m.
Bernadette Peters will be at the Van Wezel Feb. 22. 
The Beach Boys 
Mon., February 25 - 7:30 p.m.
Sarah McLachlan 
Tues., February 26 - 8 p.m.
Russian National Ballet:  The Sleeping Beauty 
Wed., February 27 - 7:30 p.m.
David Foster 
Thurs., February 28 - 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

Have you taken our 2019 Community Survey?  We're looking for feedback from residents, visitors, business owners, and employees on a wide variety of topics.  It should take 10-15 minutes to go through the questions online and the results will help guide the City's upcoming budget process.  Take the survey.  Thank you in advance for your time and input! 
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