From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
January 27, 2017

Photo of the Week
Taken on South Lido Beach this past Sunday before the stormy weather rolled through, this image highlights the dire need for shoreline protection.  As you can see, the shoreline is nonexistent here allowing waves to slam into a seawall on Ben Franklin Drive.  It's a grim reality that we could be one sub-tropical storm away from water breaching into the streets.  Staff members are now researching options for short term solutions as our permit to stabilize the Lido shoreline is challenged in court by Siesta Key residents.  Without beach stabilization, there could be millions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure.  More on this critical issue below.  Thanks to Lido Key resident Cindy Shoffstall for sharing this photo.


  • Development Review Cmte.
    Wed., February 1 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • CRA Advisory Board
    Thurs., February 2 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.  

Application Developer
Building Inspector (Single License)
Golf Course Attendant (Part Time)
Inventory Technician (SPD Part Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Maintenance Mechanic II - RLT
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Manager, Newtown Redevelopment
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Procurement Specialist II
System Integrator
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator C 

This Week's Items to Know:
Shoreline Protection  While we wait to receive the pending permit approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the long range shoreline protection program on Lido Beach, we're urging residents on Siesta Key to reconsider legal action. 

Throughout the four year planning process, the most modern computer modeling programs and aerial photographs were used to analyze the impact of recycling sand from Big Pass and public input was received.  The pending permit requires close monitoring and corrective action to be taken if, by some chance, something unexpected occurs.

We have reached out to those individuals who are challenging the permit and we are doing so again in hopes we can move forward and stabilize the shoreline without a legal challenge that could risk significant property damage and public safety.

I wrote a guest column on this issue for the Observer this week to update  the community about the urgent need for shoreline protection.  Click here to read it.

Surf from the Gulf of Mexico slamming into a seawall on South Lido Beach.

Bobby Jones Golf Club:  Course Walk-Throughs   This week, the public was invited to walk all 45 holes at the Bobby Jones Golf Club with the golf course architect who is undertaking an in-depth process to design a master plan for the complex.

Richard Mandell engaged golfers and non-golfers by asking them what they like and don't like about the American Course, British Course and Gillespie Executive Course.  By walking the fairways and greens with those who play them regularly, Mandell was able to glean feedback about the difficulty of the holes and playability.  Many other issues were raised including the significance of the Phillippi Creek watershed and the desire to maintain a wildlife-friendly area.  (Bobby Jones is a habitat for many animals from bald eagles to alligators. During the Gillespie tour, we even encountered a flock of wild parrots.  Click here to see and hear them. )

Thanks to all the participants and their enthusiasm with this process.  The architect will take the public input into consideration as he creates a proposed master plan for the complex. When the plan is 60 percent finished, it will be presented to the City Commission during a public meeting which will be advertised in advance.

Golfers and non-golfers walking the Gillespie Executive Course with architect
Richard Mandell earlier this week and providing input. 

Bobby Jones Golf Club - #1 Readers' Choice   It's clear that our historic municipal golf course is popular in the Sarasota region! Once again, Bobby Jones Golf Club is the top pick for Best Public Golf Course in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune 2017 Readers' Choice awards. 

This is the 19th time in 21 years the complex has received this distinction.  Consistency and longevity like that are impressive! 

Congratulations to the Bobby Jones staff members who are ensuring a positive experience for golfers of all ages and skill levels while we look to the future for upgrades to the complex.  And, a special thank you to the Herald-Tribune readers for voting Bobby Jones #1!


Van Wezel Recognition   Congratulations are in order to our City owned and operated cultural arts venue, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  Once again, it was ranked the number one performing arts hall in North America in the 2,000 seat category of 'top spots' in
Van Wezel Interior
The #1 performing arts hall in N. America, as ranked by Venues Today.

Venues Today, a leading international trade publication.  This is the 5th time the Van Wezel has received this recognition.  Congratulations!

This honor comes at an excellent time as the Van Wezel staff, led by Executive Director Mary Bensel, is working tirelessly with shows rotating in and out of the Hall almost daily.  We appreciate their dedication to bringing a diverse selection of performances to Sarasota that all in the community can enjoy.  And, many thanks to the Van Wezel Foundation for its continued support of our cultural arts mission.
Calling Young Readers For the 7th consecutive year, the Baltimore Orioles, who work and play in Sarasota during Spring Training, are inviting youngsters to brush up on their reading skills and earn a free ticket to an Orioles game.

Register the kids or grandkids (ages 6 and older) for the Big League Reader program at any Sarasota County public library, including Selby Library in downtown. During the month of February, they need to read three books.  In exchange, they'll get a free reserved grandstand ticket to the Orioles-Pirates game on March 11. (An adult companion ticket will be available at a reduced price.) The first 100 children to finish the program will receive a t-shirt plus they can enter their name into a drawing to throw out the first pitch at the ballgame.

We appreciate the Orioles' continued involvement in Sarasota, especially supporting the development of lifelong skills for our youngest residents.  

Upcoming Events 

Achievia Run for Good
Payne Park
Sat., Jan., 28
6:45 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Vintage & Collectibles Fair
Municipal Auditorium 
Sat., Jan. 28:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 29:  10: a.m. - 4 p.m.
 St. Armands Winter Art Festival 
St. Armands Circle Park
Sat., Jan. 28 & Sun., Jan. 29
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through February 2017.  For more information visit    

Kenny Rogers - Final World Tour
Fri., January 27 - 8 p.m.
Boz Scaggs will be at the Van Wezel Jan. 31.


Gladys Knight
Sat., January 28 - 8 p.m.

Johnny Mathis - The Voice of Romance Tour 2017
Sun., January 29 - 7 p.m.

Sarasota Concert Assn - National Symphony of Ukraine
Mon., January 30 - 7:30 p.m.

Boz Scaggs
Tues., January 31 - 8 p.m.

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Wed., February 1 - 8 p.m.

Keith Lockhart & The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
Thurs., February 2 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Tchaikovsky to Tuur
Fri., February 3 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 4 - 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sarasota Orchestra Website

Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man
Mon., February 6 - 8 p.m.

Itzhak Perlman
Tues., February 7 - 8 p.m.
Lily Tomlin will be at the Van Wezel Feb. 8.


Lily Tomlin
Wed., February 8 - 8 p.m.

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Thurs., February 9 - 8 p.m.

Steve Martin and Martin Short
Fri., February 10 - 8 p.m.

Dave Chappelle
Sat., February 11 - 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.

Ringling Town Hall - Geena Davis
Mon., February 13 - 10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Ringling Town Hall Information

Neil Berg's 108 Years of Broadway
Tues., February 14 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Twyla Tharp
Wed., February 15 - 8 p.m.

Fri., February 17 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 18 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6
Sun., February 19 - 7 p.m.

Ringling Town Hall - Jared Cohen
Mon., February 20 - 10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Ringling Town Hall Information

Alvin Ailey
Tues., February 21 - 8 p.m.
Catch Lang Lang on Feb. 23.


Lang Lang
Thurs., February 23 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Estonian Voices
Fri., February 24 - 8 p.m.
Sat., February 25 - 8 p.m.
Sun., February 26 - 2:30 p.m.
Sarasota Orchestra

Jackie Evancho
Mon., February 27 - 8 p.m.

Swan Lake - The Russian National Ballet Theatre
Tues., 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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager