From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
January 6, 2016

Photo of the Week
Thanks to City of Sarasota employee Steve Owen for sharing this dazzling image of the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier.  When Steve isn't working in the Public Works Department, he's an avid amateur photographer and especially enjoys taking photos along Sarasota Bay.  Earlier this week, the City Commission continued County action returning the operation and maintenance of the pier and Hart's Landing to the City's Parks & Rec Department from the County parks system.  The area will remain open and free to the public. Your ideas for additional park enhancements are welcomed. Please send input to Jerry Fogle:  Jerry.Fogle@SarasotaFL.Gov


  • Special Public Art Committee
    Wed., January 11 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., January 11 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Officers' Pension Plan - Special Mtg
    Fri., January 13 - 9 a.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
Director of Planning
Electrical Maintenance Mechanic
Golf Course Attendant
Landscape Maintenance Tech I - (Full Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part Time)
Maintenance Mechanic II - RLT
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Plans Examiner
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Recreation Attendant
Senior Pension Analyst
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator C

This Week's Items to Know:
Season & Traffic - This time of year, as our seasonal residents return and visitors seeking sun and a slice of paradise arrive, we are asked what the City is doing to reduce traffic issues.  The Longboat
FDOT soon will add a dedicated right turn lane on northbound U.S. 41 at Fruitville Rd.

Observer invited me to submit a guest column on this very topic. The City is working on short and long term solutions to help move people more efficiently.  Local strategies include the usage of shuttles & bicycles and providing wider sidewalks to encourage leaving the car at home and opting to walk to a destination.  Quite a bit is going on with this issue.  To read my guest column click here.   
Grand Tree Relocation   During the holiday break, a significant move took place within the city.  Icon Residential, which is developing 37 townhomes near Fruitville Rd. and Main Street, relocated a large Grand Oak tree on the property. 

A large crane was used to move the 31-inch diameter grand tree.

A 250 ton crane was used to lift the tree out of the ground and move it approximately 200 feet.  Staff Senior Arborist, Mark Miller, was closely involved with the relocation and will continue to work closely with the developer to monitor the tree to ensure its health.

The tree relocation was a condition for site plan approval for the development. Kudos to Chief Planner Lucia Panica, Senior Arborist Mark Miller and the applicant's team for working together to re-design the plans to accommodate numerous existing trees.  Relocating a tree of this magnitude is a rare and costly endeavor, and we appreciate Icon Residential going the extra mile to invest in the community -- not just bricks and mortar, but with our environmentally vital tree canopy.

The tree was relocated 200 feet on the property.  
The City Commission recently approved a revised tree ordinance focused on preserving the tree canopy and enhancing it where possible.  Thanks to our tree conservationist residents for encouraging these modifications and to Neighborhood and Development Services Director Tim Litchet and his team for drafting revisions that will ensure we continue to enjoy the beauty and environmental benefits of our significant tree canopy.   

Solar Co-Op  A new solar co-op, designed to make purchasing solar panels more affordable for homeowners, was announced this week by Florida Solar United Neighborhoods or FL SUN. 

The idea is to assemble a large group of homeowners who are interested in solar panels, then buy the equipment in bulk, and  through competitive bidding processes, have one company install the
Jon Thaxton with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation speaking at the news conference announcing the co-op. 
panels on all the participating residents' homes. Other co-op efforts have shown that going solar as a group can save up to 20% on the costs of a solar panel system.

The initiative is a partnership with a diverse group of Sarasota organizations including the Florida House Institute, League of Women voters Sarasota, Sierra Club, Sarasota Classified Teachers Association and Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota.  Funding to launch the program is being provided by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

With an eye on renewable energy sources, the City's Sustainability Manager, Stevie Freeman-Montes was on hand for the announcement.  We see this co-op as a valuable opportunity for homeowners to make our community more sustainable, especially since there is so much potential with rooftop solar panels. 

To get started, at least 40 homeowners will need to participate in the co-op.  Interested?  Information sessions will be held over the next several weeks including one at Selby Library on Thurs., January 19 at 5 p.m.   


For more details about this exciting community initiative visit    


Lift Station 87 - Update   Progress continues with the Lift Station 87 project.  A second large microtunneling shaft is now being installed with large steel piles being driven into the ground to create the walls.  These shafts will be used for the actual microtunneling under the Hudson Bayou. 

While conducting an on-site inspection earlier this week, I observed  some of the 60-inch diameter pipe casings which have already been delivered in anticipation of the microtunneling.  At this writing, the microtunneling is expected to begin the week of Jan. 23rd. This is a very technical and complex construction project and we are eagerly awaiting the completion of the critical microtunnel phase of the LS 87 project.

With some of the large pipe casings that will be used to microtunnel under the bayou. 

New Year's Eve - Downtown Celebration   A big congratulations to all those involved with the big celebration in downtown Sarasota for the New Year's Eve celebration! 

An estimated 30-35,000 revelers descended upon downtown and the Bayfront to enjoy the live music and festivities -- and, of course, to see the pineapple drop.

The Sarasota Police Department did a yeoman's job managing the sizeable crowd with 52 officers  -- and no significant issues were reported. Congratulations on ensuring it w
as a safe evening.  And, thanks to our diligent Public Works crews who helped set up and quickly cleaned up after the block party.  All this hard work was noted by the City Commission during their regular meeting earlier this week.

The pineapple dropping to ring in 2017. 

Thank you to Ron Soto, lead organizer on behalf of the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, and to Marina Jack for the magnificent fireworks show. By all accounts, these were wonderful events and a great way to usher in 2017.   


Upcoming Events 

Orchid Show
Municipal Auditorium
Sat., Jan. 7:  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 8:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Celebration of Two Worlds: Sarasota Ballet
Pineapple Ave.:  First St. to Main St.
Sun., Jan. 8 
3 p.m. - 8 p.m.  
Gala Ticketed Event  

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through 2016. For more information visit    

Dirty Dancing
Tues., January 10 - 8 p.m.
Wed., January 11 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Matthew Morrison
Thurs., January 12 - 8 p.m.
Jay Leno will be at the Van Wezel on Jan. 13.


Jay Leno
Fri., January 13 - 8 p.m.

Dick Fox's Golden Boys starring Frankie Avalon, Fabian & Bobby Rydell
Sat., January 14 - 8 p.m.

Michael Bolton
Sun., January 15 - 7 p.m.

Englebert Humperdinck
Mon., January 16 - 8 p.m.

Elvis Lives
Tues., January 17 - 8 p.m.

Zoltan Maga
Wed., January 18 -  8 p.m.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/Wynton Marsalis
Thurs., January 19 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra-Pops: The Songs of Elton John and More starrring Michael Cavanaugh
Fri., January 20 - 8 p.m.
Sat., January 21 - 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Adam Trent: The Futurist
Sun., January 22 - 7 p.m.
  Billy Crystal will be at the Van Wezel on Jan. 26.


Ringling Town Hall - Dick Cheney
Mon., January 23 - 10:30 am & 7:30 pm.

Tues., January 24 - 8 p.m.
Wed., January 25 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Spend the Night with Billy Crystal
Thurs., January 26 - 8 p.m.
Kenny Rogers - Final World Tour
Fri., January 27 - 8 p.m.

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.

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

Congratulations to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, which marked its 47th anniversary earlier this week.  47 years of offering quality performing arts shows and education programs -- and it all started with "Fiddler on the Roof"!  We appreciate all that staff does there and the continued generosity from the Van Wezel Foundation.  In honor of the Van Wezel, this week's Sarasota Scene, from resident photographer Norm Schimmel, was taken near the Hall on Sarasota Bay.

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