From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
November 21, 2018

The image of progress!  Crews were installing sod and putting the finishing touches on improvements to Laurel Park.  One of the enhancements is a new playground (in the background), which was officially opened to the public last weekend during a neighborhood event.  More below in Weekly Briefs.


  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., November 28 - 1:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop
    Wed., November 28 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Med ia Studio
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., November 28 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Coyote Education

Over the past week, we've received reports of the appearance of a coyote(s) in the community.  I spoke with Sheriff Tom Knight, who oversees Animal Control in the County, about the matter and learned that wild animal issues such as this are referred to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) which has staff members who are very knowledgeable about urban coyotes.      
Understanding these animals and arming yourself with knowledge is very helpful.
Coyotes are found in all 67 counties in Florida and tend to be timid and run away when challenged, according to FWC.  They're an important part of the ecosystem feeding on rodents, carrion, seeds, nuts, fruits -- and, on occasion, perhaps even small dogs and cats.  So, it's important for pet owners to be aware and informed. 
Coyote in Laurel Park this week.
  (Image via Twitter - Sarasota Magazine)
FWC recommends coexisting with urban coyotes by taking
some precautions:
  • Teach children how to identify a coyote and keep a safe distance
  • Keep cats indoors
  • Walk small dogs on a short leash away from wooded areas
  • Walk pets at hours other than dawn and dusk
  • Carry something to scare the coyote (whistle, can filled with pebbles
    or pennies etc.)
  • If a coyote approaches too close, act aggressively.  Wave your
    arms and shout.
  • Do not feed coyotes
  • Secure trash containers, preferably bring them indoors
According to FWC, coyote attacks are rare due to the animal's innate fear
of humans.
We're sharing the video below, which was recorded this week in the City limits, for educational purposes to help the public identify a coyote.  FWC tells us it's not unusual for a healthy coyote to be spotted during daylight hours, like this one:
There's no way of knowing for sure, but some believe the recently sightings may have been coyotes displaced from the long-vacant Colony complex when it was recently razed on Longboat Key.
We'll monitor the situation and continue to look into how best to respond.  We're also considering the possibility of holding a town hall meeting with a FWC coyote expert who could provide information and answer questions.  
More helpful information on urban coyotes can be found on the FWC website or call FWC (Lakeland branch): 863-648-3200.                                     

Featured Job of the Week 


This Week's Items to Know:

Thanksgiving - Holiday Hours  City administrative offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 22 & 23 in observance of Thanksgiving.   
Trash, recycling and yard waste will be delayed one day.  Regular Thursday collection will be on Friday; Friday pickups will be on Saturday.
Bobby Jones Golf Club will host the 10th Annual Turkey Shoot on Thanksgiving morning.  Enjoy a shotgun start and play 18 holes with a riding cart, plus a continental breakfast at the Bobby Jones Grill.
Facility hours throughout the City will vary Thursday and Friday.  We encourage you to check holiday hours before heading out.    

On this Thanksgiving we're thankful for our dedicated employees who will be working on the holiday to ensue our neighborhoods are safe, water is flowing from the tap -- and overall, helping to make sure the City is running smoothly.  Thank you all and Happy Thanksgiving!  
Lido Beach - Emergency Renourishment    On Monday, dredging began in earnest with water and sand being pumped from New Pass and deposited on Lido Beach.   
The emergency renourishment is a 24/7 operation that will run for the next 90 days, possibly even on the Thanksgiving holiday.  The beach will remain open to the public throughout the duration of this critical restoration.  For safety reasons, we encourage onlookers to be respectful of the cordoned off area which is an active construction zone.
Here's a look at the very start of the project, which will help stabilize the depleted shoreline and protect public infrastructure:
Lido Beach Emergency Renourishment 
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Men's Sr. Better Ball    Congratulations are in order for K.C. Fox and Ray Wenck who claimed the 2018 Men's Senior Better Ball trophy last weekend!    
The tournament was played over two days on the British Course with the champions earning the title with an impressive score of 15 under par.
Congrats to all who participated in this competitive amateur event at our historic municipal golf course! 
L to R:  K.C. Fox, Assistant Bobby Jones Golf Club Manager
Christian Martin, Ray Wenck

Mayors' Feed The Hungry    Mayor Liz Alpert was among the many volunteers sorting donated non-perishable food items at Ed Smith Stadium last Friday as the Mayors' Feed The Hungry annual food drive came to an end.
Mayor Liz Alpert sorting food during the
Mayors' Feed The Hungry food drive. 
Once sorted, the food will be distributed to  participating food pantries in Sarasota and Manatee Counties which will provide meals to those in need throughout the upcoming holiday season.
Launched by former Mayor Fredd Atkins in 1987, this was the 31st annual food drive for the Mayors' Feed The Hungry program.  Throughout the years, over three-quarters of a million people have by assisted by the program. 
Thanks to all for making a difference -- and Happy Thanksgiving!    
Laurel Park Improvements   One of our most beloved neighborhood parks, Laurel Park, just received a makeover from the Parks and Recreation Department, including replacing the playground with a new "tree house" themed climbing area and swing set, new landscaping and a freshly painted gazebo.
During its annual Tunes in the Park celebration, last weekend, the Laurel Park Neighborhood Association presented the Parks & Rec Department with an oversized thank you card to express their appreciation for the enhancements and working closely with residents on the project. More photos are posted on the City's Facebook page.     
Kudos to Parks & Rec Director Jerry Fogle and everyone involved for a job well done!   
Celebrating the opening of the new playground at Laurel Park.

Improvements also are underway at other neighborhood parks including Arlington and Eastwood.  We'll keep you posted when they're finished and ready for the community to enjoy.   

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Lion King makes its premiere at the Van Wezel in March 2019 -- and tickets are now on sale!
To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 
Fri., November 23 - 8 p.m.
KC and the Sunshine Band 
Sat., November 24 - 8 p.m. 
Catch Black Violin Nov. 27 at the Van Wezel.

Black Violin 
Tues., November 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Jim Brickman:  A Joyful Christmas 
Wed., November 28 - 7:30 p.m. 
The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live  
Tues., December 11 - 7:30 p.m. 
A Christmas Carol 
Sun., December 16 - 6 p.m.
Itzhak Perlman: In The Fiddler's House 
Mon., December 17 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 7:30 p.m.
The Sound of Music 
Wed., December 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 20 -  2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker  
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
The Mosow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker will be at the Van Wezel Dec. 21.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
Sat., December 22 - 6:30 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 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 30 - 1 p.m. & 6:30 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

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
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