From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 9, 2019
Our popular couple along the Sarasota Bayfront is getting a facelift!  Unconditional Surrender, the 30 foot statue adjacent to Marina Jack, is undergoing scheduled maintenance and in the process, attracting the attention of passersby.  With the statue exposed to sea salt and weather conditions 24/7/365, it's time for some TLC.  A local cleaning company and crew with artist Seward Johnson's team were on site this week pressure washing, sanding out rough spots and restoring the statue to its original splendor as part of the 5-year scheduled maintenance plan by The Sculpture Foundation, Inc., which owns Unconditional Surrender.  The refurbishing is occurring just in time for V-J Day on August 15.  Unconditional Surrender replicates the famous photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt celebrating the Victory over Japan in 1945.


  • Special City Commission
    Monday, Aug. 12 - 6:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tuesday, Aug. 13 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Wednesday, Aug. 14 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Public Art Committee
    Wednesday, Aug. 14 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop
    Wednesday, Aug. 14 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Parks, Recreation & Environmental Protection Board
    Thursday, Aug. 15 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

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This Week's Items to Know:

Lemon Ave. Streetscape - Update   The Lemon Avenue Streetscape project is proceeding well.  Crews have been installing bricks on Lemon Ave. south of Main Street since the intersection there was reopened just before the Fourth of July holiday with a beautiful brick design. 
With crews heading southward toward Pineapple Ave., they're now
Lemon Ave. looking south toward State St. 
approaching the Lemon Ave./State Street intersection, which will require that portion of the road to be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic from Aug. 12 through Sept. 18.  During that time, Lemon Ave. will be inaccessible from Pineapple Ave. and Main St.  
State Street will be open to local traffic and the State Street Garage will be open for parking as usual.   Please be aware vehicles will not be able to access Lemon Ave from State Street and due to space restrictions there will not be a turnaround.  Pedestrians will be able to access State Street and Lemon Avenue businesses.   
For more information about the Lemon Avenue Streetscape project and how it will create a heightened sense of place in downtown for pedestrians, please visit 
Downtown Paid Parking - Know Your License Plate   With the downtown paid parking program now in effect for one month, staff have been monitoring usage closely and it appears visitors are adapting well to the new process and user-friendly equipment.
If you're on the move and plan to stop for a coffee, pizza slice, laundry pickup or pastry to go, we remind all that the first ten minutes are free when using a pay station downtown. To activate
When using a pay station, you'll need your license plate number.   
the machine and begin the free ten minutes or provide payment for a longer stay, you must enter your license plate number.   
With so many passwords and numbers to remember in this technology age, I suggest storing a photo of your license plate number on your mobile phone, so you can easily refer to it at a pay station. From there, the machine is as easy to use as an ATM. 
Or you can skip the meter and pay by phone using the ParkMobile app, a popular alternative since it's used in cities throughout the region and country.
For longer visits, we remind folks that approximately 88 percent of the City's public parking spaces are still free for two hours, including covered parking in the State Street Garage and Palm Avenue Garage, both in the heart of downtown.
Questions about the program?  Please contact the Parking Operations Division:  ParkingInfo@SarasotaFL.Gov or 941-954-7057.  
Back to School - Rules of the Road   Believe it or not, the kids and grandkids will head back to school in Sarasota next Monday, Aug. 12.
We'd like to remind everyone to be on the look out as the youngsters walk, bicycle or take the bus to school.  Be alert and pay attention to school crossing guards and reduced speeds in school zones.
As a refresher, if a school bus is stopped with its warning lights flashing, motorists must stop in both directions, unless it's on a divided road, then the opposite direction does not stop.  A helpful graphic below shows the rules of the road with school buses and safety. 
Always stop when the red warning flashers are engaged on a school bus --unless you're going in the opposite direction on a divided road.  
Best wishes to students and teachers for a safe and productive year ahead in the classroom!
Parks & Rec - Lifeguards Needed   With a nationwide lifeguard shortage and three public swimming pools within the Parks and Recreation District requiring lifeguards, we're doing what we can to  attract qualified candidates to keep the pools open and safe for everyone's enjoyment.
Lifeguard candidates should apply at SarasotaFL.Gov 
Our Human Resources staff members are considering modifying qualifications to possibly include individuals who may not be high school grads yet -- and thus less experienced -- but possess the required skill sets and interest to work alongside our head lifeguard and certified staff to develop their skills, experience and certifications. Safety will remain the top priority as we adjust accordingly to the job market. 
The City's pools are located at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, Lido Pool and Arlington Park and Aquatic Center, and several positions for part-time lifeguards are open.  For those who enjoy fitness, working outdoors and safeguarding others, it is a rewarding job.  
Know someone who may be interested?  Job description and details are posted on SarasotaFL.Gov.  We encourage all qualified individuals to apply as soon as possible!   
Parks & Rec - Skate Park Improvements   Great news for skateboarders!  In our ongoing efforts to upgrade parks for all ages -- the Payne Park Skate Park has been refreshed and a new mini ramp added.
The newly refurbished Skate Park 
Cracks and holes in the concrete skate bowls were repaired, and the concrete caps, where skateboarders hop on and off the ramps, were replaced.  The area also received a fresh coat of paint . 
In addition, a new mini ramp was constructed and installed, providing a fun, safe area where those new to the sport can gain experience before jumping into the big bowls as well as providing something new for skateboarders interested in testing their skills on a different surface.  
This mini ramp was added to the Skate Park.
The Skate Park attracts enthusiasts of all ages and we're excited the Parks and Recreation Department was able to invest in these improvements.  Congratulations to all involved!  
The Skate Park is open seven days a week with varying hours:
  • Mon. through Thurs.:  2:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Fri.:  2:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Sat.:  Noon - 10 p.m.
  • Sun.:  10 a.m. - 8 p.m. 
Turtle Safe Toy Box   Florida residents and visitors may be aware of the danger that can be posed by plastic beach toys that beachgoers sometimes leave behind. They can be a hazard for baby sea turtles traversing the sand after hatching, and if the toys enter the water they eventually break down into microplastics that linger in our environment and can be ingested by marine life.
One local teenager has come up with an ingenious solution to this problem: the Turtle Safe Toy Box. Fourteen-year-old Caleb Jameson's invention serves as a "borrow box" where visitors can grab beach toys and then return them when they're done, rather than leaving them out in the sand. Caleb designs, builds and installs the boxes with the help of his family. The City is proud to have sponsored his latest one, which was deployed earlier this week at Lido Beach near the Lido Pavilion.
Caleb Jameson, 14, and his invention, the Turtle Safe Toy Box, now installed at Lido Beach.

The boxes are sturdy and weather resistant. Caleb designed them to be installed at just the right height to allow any baby sea turtles to safely pass underneath, but not so high that a mama turtle could get stuck. The box also includes an informational sign explaining its purpose and directing any interested visitors to a QR code that, when scanned with your smartphone, will take you to a website where kids can sign up to join Longboat Key Turtle Watch's Sea Turtle Defender Club.

Caleb, an incoming freshman at Providence Community School in Lakewood Ranch and an aspiring marine biologist, has been volunteering with Longboat Key Turtle Watch since he was 8 years old. He's gained nationwide interest in his invention and hopes to deploy his Turtle Safe Toy Boxes around the country. You can learn more at his website,, or by visiting his Facebook page.
We're happy to have partnered with Caleb to bring this innovative and environmentally friendly feature to Lido Beach, and we wish him great success in the future!

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager