From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
June 7, 2019
On a steamy summer afternoon this week, these cousins were thrilled to be on summer vacation happily drumming on the musical chimes at  the circus playground at Payne Park in downtown.  Zaylianis Rodriguez, 6, and her cousin Jayden live in Bradenton and Mishdayyly (far right) is visiting from Puerto Rico.  The younger two love visiting the playground regularly with Zaylianis' mother and taking in all this wonderful regional recreational facility has to offer.


  • St. Armands BID
    Wed., June 12 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Planning Board
    Wed., June 12 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
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This Week's Items to Know:

Sarasota in Motion   The first Citywide transportation master plan, "Sarasota in Motion," is off and running. Our Planning Department hosted two well-attended public workshops earlier this week at the Bayfront Community Center and Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. These visioning sessions gave members of the public a chance to share their input and ideas about how to shape the future of transportation in our City.

Sarasota in Motion is taking a long-term approach, envisioning how we will be getting around Sarasota 25 years from now. But it's also going to result in specific, tangible and feasible projects that we can begin implementing now. We're looking at everything from bicycle and pedestrian improvements to water taxis, bike and e-scooter sharing, automated vehicles and beyond.

If you missed this week's workshops, you still have an opportunity to get involved by visiting and taking the online survey, which is open through the end of June. The City is in listening mode, and we hope to hear from as many citizens as we can about how they utilize Sarasota's roadways and public transportation and what could be improved.  

Members of the public attend Monday's Sarasota in Motion visioning session at the Bayfront Community Center, hosted by the City's Planning Department.
Chief Transportation Planner Colleen McGue recently sat down with Chuck Englund, host of the "Suncoast Speaks" radio program on AM 930 The Answer, for an in-depth interview about the transportation master plan process and all the exciting mobility options the City will be looking at. You can listen here.
John Ringling Causeway - MURT Project   A much-anticipated improvement project from the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Key is planned to get underway this summer, pending final approval from the Florida Department of Transportation. 
Known as the Coon Key MURT (multi-use recreational trail) project, the initiative will provide connectivity from the twin bridges across Coon Key to Washington Drive.  Ten-foot sidewalks will be installed on both sides of the roadway for walking, running, bicycling and other recreational activities.  The invasive Australian pines, which caused safety issues by falling and temporarily blocking the road and access to the barrier islands during Hurricane Irma, will be replaced with a variety of native trees and landscaping.  While this work is being done, a 16-inch AC water main on the north side of the road will be replaced.  In addition, three new SCAT shelters will be installed.
Invasive trees will be replaced with native species
and a 10-foot-wide recreational trail will be constructed.


We anticipate construction should begin in July and wrap up in approximately 11 months without road closures.  Following that work, Florida Power & Light is scheduled to bury power lines underground in the vicinity as part of the St. Armands Garage initiative.    
The project will be divided into three phases, with Phase I involving work on the south side, including removing the invasive trees and constructing the MURT.  Phase II will include work on the north side:  removing invasive pines, replacing the water main and building the new MURT.  The final phase will be installation of new landscaping.
Recycling - Preventing Fires   A recent spontaneous fire in a commercial recycling truck in downtown Sarasota is a good reminder about properly disposing of unwanted, recyclable items. While we don't know for sure what prompted a Waste Management truck to burst into flames at Five Points, fires are erupting at recycling facilities throughout the nation at a concerning rate.

Industry experts believe the cause is a common recycling mistake: improperly disposing of lithium ion batteries. These batteries are used in many devices including cell phones, MP3 players, remote car locks, laser pointers, hearing aids, calculators and other electronics.   When the batteries break or are punctured, a membrane inside explodes. In a recycling facility or truck surrounded by paper and cardboard, it can be very dangerous.
A load in a Waste Management recycling truck recently
caught fire in downtown Sarasota.

Please make sure you properly dispose of all batteries. Because of their potential hazards, batteries are household hazardous waste that need to be dropped off at the North Sarasota County Chemical Collection Center, 8050 Bee Ridge Road, or at the Central Sarasota County Solid Waste Landfill Facility, 4010 Knights Trail Road, in Nokomis.  

Wondering what you can and can't put in your recycling cart? A helpful, user-friendly search tool is available on the City's Solid Waste webpage,  SarasotaFL.Gov/BeCartSmart. Enter any item to learn how to properly dispose of it. Or call the office at 941-365-7651.

We continue to see strong recycling participation in the neighborhoods throughout the City. Keep up the good work, Sarasota - and let's be mindful of what we deposit into those carts!
Pet a Pup - Employee Wellness   We're committed to fostering a healthy workplace for our dedicated 700-plus City employees. It's in that spirit of wellness that we invited pet therapy dog teams from the Humane Society of Sarasota County to our offices this week, so that City staff could take a time out, relax and come pet a pup. 

Administrative assistant Angela McLeod Wilkins meets therapy dog Bear at an employee wellness event Tuesday.

Studies have shown that there are numerous mental and physical health benefits associated with simply being in the presence of therapy pets, so it was great to have these wonderful animals come by and help our employees de-stress and have some fun.

Thank you to the volunteers from the Humane Society for bringing their furry friends to City Hall, the Federal Building and the police station. And special thanks to  Lance, Molly, Reina, Bear and Daisy Belle II for visiting and brightening our day. Be sure to visit to learn more about pet adoption if you're considering adding to your family.

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Friday Fest - Big Night Out 
Fri., June 21 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
Friday Fest - Rebel Heart 
Fri., July 19 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
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

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