From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 26, 2019

3-year-old Elena Collin squats down for a closer look at some of the 70 native plants and trees being given away during our Earth Day Festival earlier this week.  Sporting a free bicycle helmet she scored at the event from City planners (who were discussing transportation, mobility and safety with the grownups), Elena intently studied which plant she would like to take home to Indian Beach.  Ultimately, she and her mom, Maegen, selected a one-gallon calamint.  They heard about our Earth Day celebration that morning through a post on the City's Instagram feed.   The lunchtime event was another big success as we celebrated our planet, our home.  More details below in Weekly Briefs.


  • Special City Commission
    Mon., April 29 - 6:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., May 1 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
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This Week's Items to Know:

Osprey & Bahia Vista - Resurfacing April 29 & 30   The rough patches at the intersection of Osprey Avenue and Bahia Vista Street will be smoothed out soon as resurfacing of the area begins on Monday, April 29.
The repaving will take approximately two days with partial closures
The Osprey and Bahia Vista intersection
will be repaved April 29 and 30.
starting at 7 a.m. on April 29.  
Eastbound and westbound Bahia Vista will be temporarily closed.  Northbound and southbound Osprey will remain open, with one-way traffic maintained by flag personnel directing traffic.   
It is expected the temporary closures will only be needed on Monday and Tuesday, and regular traffic patterns should resume on Wednesday, May 1.    
This resurfacing will wrap up a significant improvement project on Osprey Ave. from Siesta Drive to just south of Bahia Vista.  New curbs, gutters, pedestrian signals and ADA curbs and ramps were installed.  Plus, waterline crossings were improved at the Osprey/Bahia Vista intersection.
We appreciate the community's patience throughout this project, especially residents along Osprey Ave. who were directly impacted. 
Housing Initiative - New Homeowners    Thanks to a housing initiative by our Office of Housing and Community Development, operated jointly with Sarasota County, two families recently moved into newly constructed homes in North Sarasota.
It was a joyful time as we celebrated and welcomed the Nieves and Platt families to their new homes on 25th Street.  Leveraging federal Home Investment Partnership (HOME) funds with State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) funds, a non-profit developer, Community Solutions 360, constructed the two houses.
The Nieves family includes seven children and the Platt family, five kids.  For each family to have a house where they can spend time together in a comfortable, safe environment will provide stability, confidence and peace of mind.
Cutting a ribbon to celebrate two families moving into two newly constructed homes. 
With regard to affordable housing, which remains a significant issue in the Sarasota community, the City will soon receive $1 million from Sarasota County as part of the CRA settlement to go toward affordable housing.  The City will contribute $500,000.  The $1.5 million will be earmarked for a new initiative for affordable housing construction.  
The Blueprint for Workforce Housing received by the City Commission in December was undertaken to look at public policy options to diversify our housing stock. The Planning Department is exploring options and drafting recommendations on how to address this community need.  Some of the recommendations may involve accessory dwelling units, parking relief, flexible lot configurations and developer incentives. We plan to present a variety of options to the City Commission as a part of planning future housing needs in Sarasota, as required by law.
St. Armands Garage - Grand Opening April 29    We're gearing up to officially celebrate the opening of the St. Armands Garage with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, April 29, and the public is invited to attend. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to noon on the ground floor in the light well plaza.
The event will be a brief celebration to recognize the many dedicated individuals who worked mainly behind the scenes for the past several years to resolve a parking crunch on St. Armands Circle. The result was a collaborative partnership with the City, merchants and residents and the construction of a beautiful, four-story parking garage with almost 500 parking spaces.
The grand opening will include tours of the facility highlighting some of the salient features, including 90 solar panels that are now operational and feeding into the garage's electrical system, powering lights, entry/exit gates and computer systems.
Since opening in mid-February, the garage has been well received by the St. Armands community and visitors with over 13,000 vehicles parked there.  Hope to see you for a brief celebration on the 29th!    
The St. Armands Garage is located at 57 N. Adams Drive.   
Workforce Training - Deadline to apply - May 3   Earlier this month, the City Commission unanimously approved investing $37,000 to partner with the Argus Foundation and CareerEdge to offer workforce training to 12 adults -- at no cost to the candidates.  The training will focus on heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance, and applications are now being accepted. 
Classes will be held three nights a week from May 28 to August for "HVAC Maintenance 101 Fast Track Training".  Candidates need to have a high school diploma or GED before starting classes.  Program organizers will work to help reinstate a driver's license and expunge records when possible if that is an obstacle for trainees for future licensing.     
This is a unique opportunity to learn new skill sets in a valued profession with average annual salaries starting in the mid-$40,000s. The deadline to apply is May 3. Preference for the 12 openings will be given to City of Sarasota residents. 
The program is possible through the generosity of Cool Today, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and the Boys & Girls Club. Thank you to the City Commission for investing in our human capital and supporting workforce training and development.  
Earth Day Festival    The City hosted another successful Earth Day Festival earlier this week on a beautiful Monday afternoon in downtown Sarasota.

Hundreds of people stopped by the informational and interactive exhibits at Selby Five Points Park. They had an opportunity to learn about reusing plastic products, switching to solar energy, composting at home and using sustainable transportation like bicycles and e-scooters. 

Our Transportation team was on hand to talk with citizens about "Sarasota in Motion," the City's transportation master plan, and how they can get involved in shaping the future of how we'll get around. Visitors also had a chance to tour one of two tiny homes, grab lunch from a food truck and take home one of the 70 free native plants or trees handed out at the festival courtesy of a grant from the Native Plant Society - a popular attraction, judging by how quickly they were snatched up.

Community groups and organizations such as Precious Plastic, Rethinking Plastic and Sunshine Community Compost took part in the City's Earth Day Festival.

We appreciate our co-hosts from UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County for partnering with us in putting on this festival, as well as the many other community organizations and agencies that participated.

Special thanks to representatives from our Solid Waste Division, who educated the public about our new single-stream recycling program and how to properly recycle, and our Utilities staff members who showed people the harmful effects of sending fats, oils and grease into the wastewater system.

And kudos to our Sustainability staff and all other City employees who were involved in organizing this wonderful, environmentally conscious event!  

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
The Temptations and The Four Tops 
Fri., April 26 - 8 p.m.

Whoopi Goldberg 
Sat., April 27 - 8 p.m.
Lee Greenwood and Crystal Gayle 
Sun., April 28 - 7 p.m.
The Illusionists 
Tues., April 30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Catch Purple Reign at the Van Wezel on May 4.

Purple Reign
Sat., May 4 - 8 p.m. 
Escape to Margaritaville
Mon., Dec. 2 - 7:30 p.m. 
Beautiful:  The Carole King Musical 
Fri., Dec. 13 - Sun., Dec. 15 
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