From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 4, 2017
Pool's open!  Lido Beach Pool reopened this week with a new electrical panel after the previous one was destroyed by a recent lightning strike. As soon as the pool reopened Wednesday, several people were in the water swimming laps.  With the pool located at the beach, it offers swimmers beautiful Gulf of Mexico views without the waves or salt water.  The pool is open Tuesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.  User fees are affordable at just $4/day for adults (half that amount for seniors). 


  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., August 8 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Community Workshop
    Tues., August 8 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112

  • Public Art Committee
    Wed., August 9 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Administrative Specialist III
Capital Projects Coordinator
Control System Tech I - Plant Maintenance
Facility Maintenance Tech
Facility Maintenance Technician - SPD
Manager, Redevelopment
Pension Plans Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
Refuse Driver and Refuse Operator       
    Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Apprentice   


This Week's Items to Know:

TS Emily - Minimal Impact  Most of us probably woke up Monday morning surprised to learn that Tropical Storm Emily had formed and was bearing down on the Sarasota region.  Primarily, the storm was a heavy rain event and blew through by early afternoon, which was very welcome news.

We kept a watchful eye on the intersection of U.S. 41 & Gulfstream Avenue, where there has been heavy rain induced flooding near the Vue construction site.  Multiple agencies are involved with this flooding issue, so coordination has been key:  the affected area is located in the City limits; U.S. 41 & Gulfstream Ave are state roads and maintained by FDOT; and, the stormwater system is managed by Sarasota County.

After talking directly with my counterpart at the County last week (prior to TS Emily) and seeking immediate assistance and relief from the State of Florida, FDOT coordinated with the Vue construction contractor to clean the stormwater pipe at the intersection with a powerful vacuum truck. The pipe was clogged with silt and debris. FDOT inspected and cleaned the inlets last year.  

The Vue contractor was fined for failing to have adequate erosion
Sunset Dr. during TS Emily
(Photo Courtesy:  Norm Schimmel) 

control measures in place, which has been remedied.
With the pipe cleared out just days before TS Emily hit, the water flowed much better at the northwest corner of the intersection. 

The Gulfstream-Sunset Drive
intersection is still experiencing flooding during heavy rain events.  FDOT and the County are responding by making it a priority to clean the pipes and storm inlets in the U.S. 41-Gulfstream-Sunset-Cocoanut-Palm Ave. vicinity.  This should happen soon.

During recent inspections, thick layers of barnacles and oyster growth were discovered on the outfalls, which may be obstructing the stormwater flow.  The County is looking into ways to prevent this growth and potential blockage from reoccurring.

We appreciate all entities coming together to resolve this public safety issue. And, special thanks to former City Commissioner and current Planning Board Member Eileen Normile for remaining vigilant.   

US 41/Fruitville Rd. - Slip Lane  If you've been near U.S. 41 & Fruitville Rd. recently, you may have noticed a new addition:  a right turn slip lane from northbound U.S. 41 to eastbound Fruitville is under construction.  A slip lane can improve traffic flow by allowing drivers to turn at an intersection without entering the intersection.
Slip lane under construction at U.S. 41 and Fruitville Rd. 
FDOT believes this will help reduce the traffic stacking we experience on U.S. 41 during peak season hours.

The lane is still under construction.  Weather permitting, FDOT hopes to have it open in the next few weeks.

Master Plan Presentation - Aug. 16   The community is invited to a presentation on the proposed master plan for the Paul N. Thorpe Jr. Park and Lemon Avenue Streetscape on Wed., August 16 at 6 p.m. in the Commission Chambers in City Hall.
A portion of the proposed master plan that will be unveiled during a community presentation. 

The proposed plan calls for keeping the recently refurbished Mermaid Fountain and artwork in place while boosting the green space and providing shade trees for park visitors.

To open up the area, the curbing on Lemon Avenue between State Street and Pineapple Avenue will be removed, offering a  similar look and feel to the Lemon Ave. Mall between 1st Street and Main Street.

Click here to review renderings of the master plan that will be presented during the community meeting.

Eloise Werlin Park - New Restrooms OPEN  The newly renovated restrooms at Hart's Landing in Eloise Werlin Park are now open to the public!

As we shared in last week's edition of Weekly Briefs, new hardware,
A peek inside the newly renovated restrooms at
Hart's Landing at Eloise Werlin Park.

drywall, paint and baby changing stations were included in the makeovers for both the men's and women's restrooms. 

The improvements are the result of philanthropist Ernest "Doc" Werlin, whose late wife the park is named after.  He essentially adopted the park in 2015 and during regular visits to the park, he notes ways to improve the area to offer more enjoyment for the public.  With his generosity, the park has been transformed from an unused strip of land along Sarasota Bay to a popular family destination with playground equipment and lush landscaping.  Thanks, Doc!

The next improvement?  We're talking with Doc about adding lighting to the park which is used by many families after dusk.

Trash Audit  - Here's something you might not imagine office workers doing:  picking through trash in the rain.  That's exactly what two members of the City's sustainability team (including one intern), recently did as they conducted a trash audit at Bayfront Park.

The idea was to get a better understanding of how many recyclable
Intern Katherine Powell during the trash audit.

materials are tossed into the trash cans at the park.

Our intrepid employees, Jeff Vredenburg and Katherine Powell, rolled up their sleeves and transported several bags of trash from the park to the Public Works transfer station on 12th Street, where they had plenty of space to spread out their messy collection.
Of the 28.8 pounds of trash reviewed, 14.1 pounds was recyclable, including aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastics and cardboard.  That's 49%!  Nearly half the weight of the trash in the audit should have been recycled, and diverted from the landfill, saving garbage truck tipping fees and precious space at the landfill.

The audit was conducted after numerous requests came in from the public asking for recycling to be offered at our parks and public spaces.  Years ago, the City offered recycling but the level of contamination was so high, the decision was made to discontinue the program.

The plan going forward is to use this salient information to explore the feasibility of a pilot program that uses best practices for containers and recycling education, so people understand the proper way to recycle and the benefits.

Special thanks to Jeff Vredenburg, Sustainability Program Educator, and Katherine Powell, who stoically spent her last day as an intern (coincidentally) separating recyclables and trash -- and enduring an array of aromas in the process.  Well done!

Recycling & Yard Waste Update   We're moving closer to single cart recycling! 

Effective September 2, feel free to co-mingle recyclables in your residential curbside bins.  Paper items can be placed with aluminum cans, metal and corrugated cardboard.  We're excited about this change and hope this streamlined process will result in more residential recycling participation.  The goal is to transition to large, single cart recycling in one year.

Waste Pro will handle residential curbside recycling and can be
Co-mingle recyclables
starting Sept. 2. 
reached at 941-355-9600.

Look for a reminder about this new, recycling-friendly process that will be included in all upcoming water bills.

Also, starting September 2, yard waste will be collected by Public Works crews.  Please remember to properly prepare your yard waste by putting it in a container or bundling it in 4-foot lengths (or less) and no more than 50 pounds.  For large yard waste piles, special pick up arrangements can be made by calling 941-365-7651.  There will be a minimum charge of $26.24.

NOTE:  All recycling, yard waste, bulk waste and trash materials will continue to be picked up on the same collection day.  Please have those items curbside by 7 a.m.  

TS Emily - Thoughtful Appreciaton   While crews with our Landscape Division worked during Tropical Storm Emily to remove an uprooted tree that was blocking a neighborhood street, they were pleasantly surprised by a mother and her 9-year-old son who live in the area.  The Diamantes assembled a gift basket of cold beverages and hand delivered them to the landscape crews working in the July heat to make their street passable again...and for the SPD officers securing the area.

It's this kind of unexpected, genuine thoughtfulness that makes Sarasota such a special community.  On behalf of the work crews and police officers, thank you!

Our Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg happened to be on the scene at the time and produced this brief video:

Upcoming News Reports:  Aug. 5 & 6  The City will be featured by two media outlets this weekend about two community programs:

AM 930 The Answer will run a 30 minute interview with Parks and
Parks & Rec Director Jerry Fogle talking
with AM 930 The Answer. 
Rec Director, Jerry Fogle, on "Suncoast Speaks". 

He and Chuck Englund will talk at length about the newly formed Parks & Rec Department and exciting plans for the future.  The interview will air twice:

Sat., Aug. 5:  7:30 a.m.
Sun., Aug. 6:  1:30 p.m.

And, Fox 13 will highlight the successful composting pilot program the City is supporting in the Gillespie Park Neighborhood.  Look for  Lindsay Milbourne's 'Earth Watch' report, scheduled to air twice during the Saturday morning newscast:

Sat., August 5:  6 a.m. hour & 8 a.m. hour

Media outlets have many news stories to select from and we appreciate these two taking the time to highlight a couple of our popular community programs.   

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through Dec. 2017.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 

Friday Fest:  Jah Movement Reggae Band
Fri., August 25 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Tony Bennett
Fri., September 8 - 8 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Reverend Barry & the Funktastic Soul
Fri., September 15 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Big Stage Ballroom - Fred Astaire 
Sun., October 8 - 7 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular 
Sat., November 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Big Stage Ballroom - Fred Astaire will be at the Van Wezel Oct. 8.


Celtic Thunder
Wed., November 15 - 7:30 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 16 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker
Fri., Dec. 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 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

Weekly Briefs will be on hiatus next week.  We'll be back August 18!  Have a nice week in our special city.

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

Tom Barwin
City Manager