From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
February 1, 2019

The 15th Embracing Our Differences outdoor exhibit is now on display at Bayfront Park.  Forty-five billboard-sized works of art are situated throughout the park located on beautiful Sarasota Bay promoting diversity, acceptance and understanding.  This year, nearly 12,000 entries were submitted from around the world by youth and adult artists.  Bayfront Park is an ideal setting for the exhibit, allowing you to stroll the grounds and enjoy each piece in a serene setting.  Thanks to the Embracing Our Differences organization for another powerful campaign that is sure to touch many individuals.  The exhibit is free and open to the public now through March 15.


  • City Commission
    Mon., February 4 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., February 5 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., February 6 - 9 a.m.
Featured Job of the Week 

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This Week's Items to Know:

Public Art Installation - Feb. 2   The City's impressive public art collection will expand by one more piece this Saturday, February 2 when a new sculpture is installed downtown at the Palm Ave./Cocoanut Ave. roundabout.   
"Jumping Fish," created by artist Jeffrey Laramore will be located in the
"Jumping Fish" will be installed Feb. 2 at the
Palm Ave./Cocoanut Ave. roundabout. 

heart of the arts district in downtown, adjacent to the Florida Studio  Theatre, Art Ovation hotel and the Sarasota Opera house.
Installation is expected to begin around 8 a.m. using a crane to hoist the 16-foot sculpture.  The northwest quadrant of the roundabout will be closed for part of the morning from approximately 6:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.   
If you're on your way to the popular Downtown Farmers Market Saturday morning, you may want to stop by and see the placement of what is sure to be one of the City's signature art pieces.    

Sarasota Music Half Marathon:  Feb. 3   Sunday, Feb. 3 will be a busy morning in the city limits, as the Sarasota Music Half Marathon takes place along the Bayfront and through many of our neighborhoods.
The 5th annual Metro Diner Sarasota Music Half Marathon will start at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at 6:30 a.m., head south on U.S. 41, over the Ringling Causeway and Bridge, around St. Armands Circle, down Orange Ave., around Cherokee Park, then head back to the Van Wezel to the finish line.   
Course map for the 5th annual Metro Diner Sarasota Music Half Marathon & Rockin' 10K. 
For the participants' safety, there will be lane closures along the course.
Please note:  St. Armands Circle,  S. Orange Ave., S. Osprey Ave. and Cherokee Park will be completely closed to vehicles during the race. Drivers who need to enter or exit a neighborhood located on the race route will be guided by police officers or race volunteers in between runners when conditions safely permit. 
The race will conclude at 10:30 a.m., at which time regular traffic patterns will resume.   
For a list of temporary lane/road closures click here.  
Once again, the event is expected to attract approximately 4,000 running enthusiasts from the region as well as parts of the country where people are eager to escape the record-breaking deep freeze for Sarasota's pleasant, runner-friendly temps.  
Good luck to all the runners!    
Reminder:  Parking Program - New Hours    New parking time restrictions for on-street parking and the two public parking garages in downtown went into effect this week as we begin rolling out changes to boost parking ease and availability throughout the city.  
Parking remains complimentary at the Palm Ave. Garage and State St. Garage for the first two hours.  Rates are $1 per hour. 
While on-street parking is still limited to two hours, additional enforcement hours have been added at night as well as Saturday to improve accessibility and turnover of parking spaces.  
New on-street parking hours of enforcement are:  Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.   Please look for the new signage detailing the new hours. 
The St. Armands Garage is getting closer to completion, and we expect it to open to the public by mid-February.      
The opening of the garage will launch the paid parking program on St. Armands.  The pay stations and meters already are installed and after testing the technology extensively with users, the consensus is they are as simple to use an ATM.  Just pay and go.  No need to walk back to your car and leave a parking receipt.  You'll just need to know the zone you parked in and your license tag.  (You may want to consider taking a picture of it with your phone, so it's readily available.)     
A mobile app, called ParkMobile, will make it very user-friendly to pay by phone and add time remotely as you like.   It also will send parking expiration reminders.  You can download ParkMobile now from your mobile app store. 
The ParkMobile app is used in many cities around Florida, and if you have an account already set up, you're good to go!  This app will make payment in St. Armands quick and easy.  Learn more about ParkMobile here.  Watch for updates when this will become available in downtown Sarasota, expected by late Spring 2019. 
With the rollout of the paid parking program and 500 parking spaces at the garage, we expect traffic congestion on the Circle will go down and ease of parking will go up markedly.  More to come soon!  
Visit Sarasota County - New Visitor Center     Earlier this week, Visit Sarasota County celebrated the official grand opening of its newly renovated visitor center inside the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce building at 1945 Fruitville Road.

Visit Sarasota County officially unveiled its new visitors center at 1945 Fruitville Road this week.
The new design elements and fresh look create a welcoming atmosphere for those who may be visiting our community for the first time. Combined with renovations to the Chamber's offices, the building is a fantastic showcase for those choosing to live, work or play in our community or potentially start or relocate a business here. 

Visitors will be able to find brochures and information about Sarasota's amenities and businesses, talk with the helpful staff and volunteers, and check out some exciting digital technology that further spotlights all that is great about our city and county.

We're lucky to have such an engaged tourism bureau operating right here in downtown, and its synergy with the Chamber will only be a benefit to Sarasota.
2019 Citizens' Academy    Last week we welcomed about two dozen residents to City Hall as we launched our first Citizens' Academy in seven years.  It's an in-depth course designed for those who are curious about their municipal government and want to learn about the various departments and how they function to keep the City operating 24/7/365.

Mayor Liz Alpert welcoming the 2019 Citizens' Academy. 
Mayor Liz Alpert and Commissioners Brody, Freeland-Eddie and Shaw were all on hand the first evening to welcome the group and provide an overview of their responsibilities as elected officials.  The City Attorney Robert Fournier and I presented about our duties and responsibilities as Charter Officials.  And, the Communications team provided an overview of how they communicate with the public through strong relationships with the media, social media, Weekly Briefs and more.   
This week, Vice Mayor Ahearn-Koch greeted the group at the Van Wezel before they took a behind the scenes tour of the performing arts hall and learned all that goes into bringing a show to the stage. 
In the coming weeks, residents will learn about SPD, Public Works, Utilities, Development Services, Planning, Parks & Rec and more.  Much to learn about!
Thanks to our Planning Department for hosting this eight-week course. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
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.
Boston Pops on Tour 
Tues., February 12 - 8 p.m.
Michael Bolton: Symphony Sessions 
Wed., February 13 - 8 p.m.
Michael Bolton will perform
Feb. 13 at the Van Wezel.

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.
The Beach Boys 
Mon., February 25 - 7:30 p.m.
Sarah McLachlan 
Tues., February 26 - 8 p.m.
Russian National Ballet:  The Sleeping Beauty takes the stage Feb. 27. 

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