From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
September 27, 2019


Have you noticed the beautiful new aesthetic lighting under the Ringling Bridge?  The Florida Department of Transportation, which maintains the bridge, needed to replace the traditional white lights after 16 years of exposure to the elements.  At the urging of locals, as with bridges in Tampa, Miami, and Pensacola, FDOT opted to enhance the decorative lighting with LED technology, which uses less energy, is more reliable and can be programmed to change colors.  A total of 60 lighting fixtures on all 10 columns were replaced.  The eye-catching upgrade offers yet another reason to enjoy a stroll along Sarasota Bay!  Many thanks to resident photographer Norm Schimmel for sharing this wonderful image.


  • Community Workshop
    Monday, Sept. 30 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tuesday, Oct. 1 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • US 41-Fruitville Rd Roundabout - Open House
    Tuesday, Oct. 1 - 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Grand Foyer - Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., Oct. 2 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board - Regular & Special
    Wednesday, Oct. 2 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
    Regular - Agenda
    Special - Agenda

Featured Job of the Week 

Other great opportunities!  

This Week's Items to Know:

Lido Beach Pavilion - Renovations Start Soon   Next week will see the start of some much-needed repairs and upgrades to the pavilion at Lido Beach.
Crews will first be installing a new vent hood in the kitchen and a new long-lasting metal roof. This necessary work coincides with the expiration of the City's contract with the current vendor at the concession stand, which will temporarily close beginning Monday. We are in the process of evaluating bids for the continuation of the food and beverage service once the renovation work is complete, tentatively scheduled for December.
In the meantime, food trucks and picnic tables will be available in the front of the building to provide service for beachgoers.   
Once this phase of work is complete, there will be additional upgrades to the pavilion, including the installation of a shaded concrete patio and an update to the restrooms.
Thanks for bearing with us while we make these long-awaited improvements to the pavilion, and we look forward to sharing the finished product with you.  
Interested in food truck opportunities during the renovation?  Please contact Judy Soenneker in our Parks and Recreation Department:  941-263-6569.

For questions or more information about the renovations contact the Parks and Recreation District at 941-263-6386 or or visit
Food trucks and picnic tables will be available outside the Lido pavilion while renovations take place.
US 41-Fruitville Rd Roundabout - Open House 10/1    Reminder:  You'll have an opportunity to learn firsthand about the upcoming US 41-Fruitville Road roundabout construction project during an informational open house:
Date:  Tuesday, Oct. 1
Time:  5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 
Place: Grand Foyer - Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 
Three important points:
1.  Planned prior to the Great Recession to help improve traffic flow, connectivity and enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety, construction of the roundabout is now set to start in October.
2.  While there will be temporary traffic detours around the intersection, the evacuation route from the barrier islands -- northbound US 41 to eastbound Fruitville Rd. -- will remain open throughout the project.  
3.  Education outreach about the rules of roundabouts and how to safely navigate them as a driver, pedestrian and bicyclist has been underway by our Transportation team within the Planning Department, and representatives will be available at the open house to discuss how to properly maneuver a two-lane roundabout. These education efforts will continue to increase prior to the roundabouts opening at US 41-10th Street and 14th Street in Spring 2020, followed by US 41-Fruitville in Fall 2020.  
The roundabout is being constructed by Wright Construction Group, Inc. for the Quay Sarasota, on behalf of the City of Sarasota in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation.     
More information will be available at or by calling 941-275-9360. 
Newtown CRA Update    This week, our Economic Development Office hosted an open house to gather community input on the effort underway to update the Newtown CRA Plan.   
Many community programs and construction projects have come to fruition in the Newtown CRA since it was created in 2006 --  from 380+ new housing units to the outstanding Sarasota Memorial Hospital - Newtown Clinic to the nationally recognized Newtown Conservation Historic District.  And, there's more to be done in this multi-cultural neighborhood! That's why we're reviewing the momentum in the CRA and updating the vision for the area.
Many attending the open house expressed the need for more and varied jobs training, diversified employment opportunities and the desire for a pharmacy and bank to be located along Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, the main corridor through Newtown between U.S. 301 and U.S. 41.  
An informal open house to gather community input on the
Newtown CRA Plan update was held this week.

The City's consultant for the project, Redevelopment Management Associates, is now distilling the feedback they received during the open house and will make a formal presentation to the community on Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Goodwill, 1781 Dr. MLK Jr., Way.
Also, our very own Redevelopment Manager, Onya Bates, and Redevelopment Specialist, Rowena Elliot, appeared on ABC 7's 7 at 7 with Bill Logan this week to discuss the Newtown CRA Plan update and the vast, exciting possibilities for the area.  Didn't catch the show?  Watch it on demand  
Downtown Paid Parking - Update    Our staff with the Parking Operations Division had a successful morning at the Farmers Market last weekend interacting with visitors and registering 120+ for the ParkMobile app.

Just two months into the new downtown paid parking program and users are transitioning well to the user-friendly app and meter
Parking Manager Mark Lyons talking with a visitor at the Farmers Market about the convenience of the ParkMobile app.

technology.  Almost 70,000 customers have used the metered spaces in downtown alone, and approximately one-third used the ParkMobile App. 
Staff continues to monitor the new system and refine where necessary.  One recent change:  The minimum $1.50 for a ParkMobile transaction was removed.  This is will be especially convenient for those making a quick stop and want to pay by app.  
Parking revenues are utilized to maintain our three major public parking garages (Palm Avenue, State Street and St. Armands) with assets valued at over $40 million. 
Have a question regarding the paid parking program?  Please email: 
National Night Out - Oct. 1    We hope you can join us part of the evening on Tuesday, Oct. 1 as we recognize National Night Out and the importance of neighbors and police officers getting to know each other.

The Sarasota Police Department will host this popular community event outside police headquarters, 2099 Adams Lane, adjacent to Payne Park on Oct. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 
Plenty of family-friendly activities will be going on, including face painting, a junior SWAT challenge, high school drumline competition, K-9 demonstrations, and the opportunity to check out bomb squad robots and emergency vehicles -- all while enjoying free food and drinks.   
Hope to see you there -- getting to know other Sarasota residents and the SPD officers who work 365/24/7 to help keep our special city safe.     

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
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

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