From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
January 18, 2019
Visitors to this section of Lido Beach earlier this week would have found a much different scene than just a few months ago, when the beach was still severely eroded and suffering greatly from the effects of red tide. Thousands of cubic yards of sand have been added to the beach as we continue our short-term emergency renourishment project, and red tide was nowhere to be seen Wednesday as these beachgoers enjoyed a wide, sandy beach and picture-perfect weather. The renourishment project is approximately 40 percent complete as crews continue to work their way south pumping new sand  - about 185,000 cubic yards in all.

  • City Commission
    Tues., January 22 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID - Workshop
    Wed., January 23 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., January 23 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Ready for 100
    Wed., January 23 - 5:30 p.m.
    Robert L. Taylor Community Complex - 1845 John Rivers St.
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This Week's Items to Know:

MLK Day:  Jan. 21 - Hours & Trash Collection   City administrative offices will be closed Monday, January 21, for the national observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Trash, recycling and yard waste will not be affected.  Pickup will be as usual.  
Holiday hours at City facilities will vary and are posted on SarasotaFL.Gov 
Many community activities are planned to remember and commemorate the remarkable contributions of Dr. King, including:
  •  MLK Day 5K run/walk:
     7 a.m. - Robert L. Taylor Community Complex (RLTCC)
  • MLK Day Breakfast
    7:30 a.m. - RLTCC
  • MLK Unity Walk:
    11 a.m.  - RLTCC to MLK Park
  • MLK Community Celebration:  Noon - 4 p.m. - MLK Park

To register for the breakfast or for more information, call 941-780-4060 or email

Hope to see you at one of these events as we remember the life and lasting achievements of Dr. King.        
Citywide Parking Program - New hours   Starting Tuesday, January 29, new time restrictions will take effect for the City's parking garages and on-street parking.
Parking will remain complimentary at the Palm Avenue Garage and State Street Garage for the first two hours rather than three hours.  The rate structure will remain the same with the first hour of payment being $3, then $1 for each hour or a part thereof.
On-street parking time restrictions will remain the same -- two hours. 
New parking time restrictions will take effect Jan. 29. 
Enforcement will be extended by two hours in the evening, plus Saturday will be added.  So, the new enforcement will be:  Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.   
Hundreds of on-street parking signs will be changed very soon to reflect the enforcement hours.
Busy, vibrant cities manage mobility and parking challenges in a variety of ways, including this new and necessary public parking paradigm.
The St. Armands Garage is nearing completion, and we anticipate it opening early next month, at which time the paid parking program on St. Armands will go into effect. That will reduce congestion as drivers will be able to easily park in the garage with 500 spaces rather than circling the very popular Circle searching for a space.
Walkable City Rules - Jeff Speck Lecture   We enjoyed hosting renowned city planner and author Jeff Speck last week as he returned to Sarasota to grade us on walkabiltiy.
Speck was part of the team who designed the Downtown Master Plan, and after touring the city this week, he said we're doing fairly well compared to most places when it comes to walkability.
More needs to be done, though, to entice people to walk and help them feel safe and comfortable.  Some of his many suggestions, from his new book "Walkable City Rules," include slowing down vehicular traffic, creating bicycle lanes, protecting sidewalks and planting shade trees.
If you missed Speck's engaging 90-minute talk, it's available on demand on the City's website.  I encourage you to check it out and learn why and how we're committed to making Sarasota the Sunshine State's most walkable community.
The importance of being a walkable community also is the focus of this week's 'City Report' on SNN.   Tune in Friday night at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. or watch online.   
Baby Wipes & Sewer Systems - Mind The Flush   A recent sewage spill in the City of Bradenton was caused by a large blockage of baby wipes.  Believe it or not, this has become an increasing and costly problem for municipalities throughout the country.
While some baby wipe products may indicate they're "flushable," the reality is that they do not dissolve in a sanitary sewer system.  Instead, they clump together and clog the system, which can lead to outages and sewage spills into our precious waterways.
In the City of Sarasota, 70 percent of the sewage spills last year were the direct result of blockages caused by baby wipes as well as fats, oils and greases.  While our Utilities team has an active preventative maintenance program searching for blockages and eliminating them, the City still experiences about two clogs a week caused by these items.  

A blockage within the City of Sarasota sewer system caused by
baby wipes, grease, oil and fats.
Please dispose of baby wipes and diapers in the trash. That also goes for fats, oils and grease.  Cooking grease, etc. should be tossed in the garbage not down the drain.
If each one of us does our part, then collectively we will have a positive impact on the system and help keep it flowing without potential costly blockages and breaks.  We - and our fisheries and marine life - appreciate your help with important issue!   
Eastwood Park - New Playground  The Office of Housing and Community Development, in concert with the Parks and Recreation Department, recently installed new playground equipment at Eastwood
New play equipment at Eastwood Park.
Park for very young children, ages 2 through 5.   
A toddler bucket swing set and treetop themed slide, ladder and climbing station are now available for play on a rubber safety surface which not only is ADA compliant but cushions falls for little ones!  
The tots playground area was funded through Community Development Block Grant dollars and complements the soccer field and playground area for older children recently installed at the park.     

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Pilobolus Shadowland:  The New Adventure 
Tues., January 22 - 7:30 p.m.
Howie Mandel 
Wed., January 23 - 8 p.m.

The Midtown Men 
Fri., January 25 - 8 p.m.
  Travis Tritt will be at the Van Wezel Feb. 5. 

Gladys Knight 
Sat., January 26 - 8 p.m.
Jerry Lee Lewis 
Sun., January 27 - 7 p.m.
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.
Patti LaBelle will perform
Feb. 8. 

New Shanghai Circus 
Sun., February 10 - 3 p.m.
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.
Catch Stomp on Feb. 17! 
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

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