From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 20, 2018
On Friday, in honor of Earth Day this Sunday, April 22nd, we hosted a lunchtime celebration in conjunction with Sarasota County at Selby Five Points Park.  The weather was wonderful and the turnout terrific, with people checking out the many and varied educational tables and even waiting in line to tour a tiny home (shown above).  This one is approximately 280 sq. ft. with a loft, kitchen, shower and full-size washer and dryer, priced around $60,000. While there, I was peppered with questions about where tiny homes could be placed in the city.  We're researching that and will report back in a future edition of  the Briefs. Great to see so much interest in this alternative way to reduce one's footprint!  Many thanks to the participants at Earth Day and all who attended.  Happy Earth Day! 


  • Informal City Commission
    Tues., April 24 - 3 p.m.

    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

  • Firefighters' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Wed., April 25 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Officers' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Fri., April 27 - 8:15 a.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers

City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Golf Course Attendant
Golf Shop Attendant (PT)
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Maintenance Technician - SPD
OHCD Inspector
Parks Service Worker - Part-time
Pension Plans Administrator 
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant/RLTCC
Rec Attendant (Children's Fountain)
RLTCC Lifeguards
  Senior Pension Accountant
Summer Internship
   Volunteer/Unpaid Intern  
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

This Week's Items to Know:

WB 10th Street Closure    We're in the final stage of the 10th Street Boat Basin dredging project, installing an important eco-friendly  stormwater improvement to help prevent sediment and debris from going into Sarasota Bay.
Known as a nutrient separating baffle box, the system will separate silt, litter and other pollution from stormwater runoff and lock it in a box chamber preventing it from flowing into the Bay.

This large infrastructure improvement project will require westbound
Effective Mon., April 23, WB 10th St. between Central & Cocoanut will be temporarily closed.

10th Street between Central Ave. and Cocoanut Ave. to be temporarily closed while the system is installed under the roadway.  The temporary closure is scheduled to begin Monday, April 23 and end in Fall 2018. 

With the nearby FDOT road work underway, City staff is working closely with FDOT to ensure appropriate detour signage is in place and drivers are able to navigate through the Central Cocoanut neighborhood. 

Eastbound 10th Street will remain open to all traffic, as will Central Ave. and Cocoanut Ave.

The nutrient separating baffle box is advanced technology that will help improve the overall health of Sarasota Bay by eliminating silt buildup and collecting debris before it goes into the Bay.  That should improve seagrass growth and the larger ecosystem for sea turtles, dolphins, fish, seabirds and other wildlife.

We're proud to continue charting a path of being good stewards of the environment and look forward to incorporating this new baffle box technology into the City's stormwater system.    
U.S 41 Construction Update - Night Work 4/23 & 24   A significant portion of the U.S. 41 road construction involves infrastructure improvements, and any necessary night work or short term water turn offs are being coordinated closely between the City and FDOT to minimize impacts on the community. 

Night work has been scheduled for the U.S. 41/14th Street area on Mon., April 23 & Tues., April 24, weather permitting. 

A 6-inch water main near 14th Street will be cut and capped requiring a short 4-hour water shut off to approximately one dozen customers in the area.

To minimize the impact, the work will be done late at night. There will be some nighttime construction noise with vehicles backing up and crews working in the area. 

As is the practice with any scheduled water shut off, affected water customers have been given a minimum of 48 hours notice.  In this case, project managers have been coordinating well in advance with the owners of The Reserve and nearby residents to ensure the dates/times are mutually agreeable. 

For the latest information on the U.S. 41 roundabout construction, please sign up for the weekly FDOT RoadWatch Update:                    
St. Armands Garage - Construction Starting Soon    We're gearing up to break ground soon on the new St. Armands Parking Garage! 

Since the garage will be constructed on the current site of the surface parking lot on N. Adams Drive, we'd like to give a heads up that the N. Adams Drive lot will no longer be available starting Monday, April 23rd.

There are many parking spaces within a short stroll of the Circle and
The surface lot on N. Adams Dr. will close Mon., April 23
as construction preps begin. 
staff anticipates that out of season there will be sufficient parking to absorb the temporary loss of the spaces on Adams Dr.  When the garage is completed in December 2018, 500+ public spaces will be available, helping to address the year-round parking needs of this popular shopping and dining destination.

This improvement should also help with traffic by minimizing the need for visitors to circle the Circle looking for open parking spaces.

As we strive to meet our Ready for 100 goal to use 100% renewable energy for City operations by 2030, a solar component will be included in the new garage.  A panel will be installed on the rooftop which will capture solar energy and help power the facility.

Also, public restrooms will be available on the first floor.

We appreciate the partnership between the City, St. Armands land owners, business owners and residents that has been nurtured over the years to arrive at this significant stage.

A formal groundbreaking ceremony is being coordinated for next month. 

Burns Court - Open for Business    As with much road construction, small businesses in the immediate vicinity can feel the pinch as drivers take alternative routes. 

With the Orange Ave./Ringling Blvd. roundabout construction underway, we'd like to remind everyone that Burns Court is open for business -- boutiques, cafes, shops, restaurants and the movie theater.  We encourage everyone to consider visiting these small businesses.

Burns Court is open for business!

Construction at Orange Ave./Ringling Blvd. is nearing completion and the intersection is expected to reopen in early May as a roundabout.  We appreciate the community's patience as we work to improve the mobility and walkability of downtown. 

Community Canopy - Tree Giveaway   Our popular Community Canopy tree giveaway returns next week!

Starting Monday, April 23rd at midnight, City residents can reserve a free tree online.  Just visit (the site will become active at midnight on the 23rd).

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, and with an additional
A Gillespie Park family with the tree they received
during our last Community Canopy tree giveway. 
grant from the Florida Forest Service, we're giving away 235 trees.

There are just two restrictions:  You must live in the City limits and register online.

When you register, you'll be instructed how to select the proper location on your property to plant the tree to maximize energy savings. 

Five species of trees will be given away:  chickasaw plum, crape myrtle, red maple, shumard oak, and sweetbay magnolia.

Each household can reserve one tree (while supplies last).  The tree will be delivered right to your doorstep in a one-gallon container.  You should plant it in the optimum location that was determined when you registered online.

This is the third time the City has participated in the Community Canopy program.  At the end of this cycle, we will have given away 600+ trees to bolster our urban canopy.

Trees are the lungs of our city and help take carbon out of the atmosphere.  Thanks to all who are able to take advantage of this program.

Compost-A-Thon:  May 6-12    Interested in learning how to re-purpose your kitchen scraps and transform unused food into nutrient rich soil?  We have an event for you!  The first-ever community Compost-A-Thon will take place the week of May 6 through May 12, during International Compost Awareness Week.

Registered participants will be given a sealed bucket and instructions
A resident depositing kitchen scraps
during the Gillespie Park compost pilot program. 
on how to compost.  Place your compostable household items in the pail for one week, then deposit them at an assigned community compost site. Your scraps will be weighed and dropped into a compost earth bin.  You'll get a visual idea of how much food waste your household can divert from the landfill and transform it into high quality, odor-free soil.

The week will culminate with a Compost-A-Thon celebration at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex on Saturday, May 12 from Noon - 2 p.m., where there will be compost demonstrations, children's gardening activities, raffle prizes and lunch.  (We're  reasonably certain we know what will happen with the food scraps.)

Those interested in participating for the week are asked to register online by Tuesday, May 1st:

There's no cost.  It's easy.  And, you'll help make a difference.

The Compost-A-Thon, is being organized by Sunshine Community Compost, a local nonprofit, with support from the City.  We partnered with Sunshine a year ago to launch a neighborhood compost pilot program in Gillespie Park which has been very successful in educating residents and diverting food from the landfill.  Neighborhood compost programs also are now underway at North Water Tower Park and Arlington Park.

Good luck to all who participate in the Compost-A-Thon!


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through December 2018.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit    
Sarasota Orchestra Fri., April 20 - 8 p.m.
Sat., April 21 - 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Bill Engvall 
Sun., April 22 - 7 p.m.

A Chorus Line 
Tues., April 24 - 8 p.m.
Wed., April 25 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Mummenschanz will be at the Van Wezel April 26.


Mummenschanz - You & Me 
Thurs., April 26 - 8 p.m.

Yanni 25 - Live at The Acropolis Anniversary Concert Tour 
Sun., April 29 - 7 p.m.

The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 8 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 8 p.m.

Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live 
Tues., December 11 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 8 p.m.

The Sound of Music 
Wed., December 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Catch The Sound of Music Dec. 19 & 20 at the Van Wezel.

Thurs., December 20 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker 
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

On Your Feet 
Wed., December 26 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., December 28 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., December 29 - 7:30 p.m.

The Sweet Caroline Tour 
Mon., December 31 - 9 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

The annual Suncoast Boat Show is going on at Marina Jack now through Sunday, April 22nd.  Additional iRide vehicles will be on the street running from the Palm Ave. and State St. Garages and the Bayfront.  Flag one down or call 941-444-2385 for a free ride.  Also, the Boat Show is offering complimentary shuttles between the Palm Ave. Garage and the Bayfront.

While you're visiting the Bayfront, check out this year's installation of Embracing Our Differences.  This is the 15th year for the outdoor exhibit which celebrates diversity, with artwork submitted by individuals throughout the world.  The exhibition will be on display through June 1st at Bayfront Park. It is free and open to the public.

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