From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
March 10, 2017
Photo of the Week
On International Women's Day, we caught up with the Women's Southeast Division tournament at the longstanding Lawn Bowling Club of Sarasota.  Near downtown, the 4-day tournament attracted dozens of players from southeast Florida including Mt. Dora, Clearwater, Lakeland and, of course, Sarasota.  Located close to Sarasota Bay, the club is a popular venue and is a stakeholder in the Bayfront 20:20 visioning process.  In November, the club will host the U.S. Open with lawn bowlers from around the world traveling to Sarasota to compete.        

  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., March 14 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., March 15 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., March 16 - 5 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 Supervisor
Electrical Maintenance Mechanic
Golf Course Attendant (Part Time)
Inventory Technician (SPD Part Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Manager, Accounting & Payroll Systems
Plans Examiner
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
System Integrator  
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Apprentice


This Week's Items to Know:
Traffic Signal - Retiming   We continue to pursue short and long term solutions to address transportation issues in the City. To boost traffic flow, the City Commission unanimously approved a contract this week allowing high tech traffic control signals on City maintained streets to be reviewed and retimed, if necessary.

Recently, the Florida Department of Transportation upgraded and retimed the traffic signals in the city limits on U.S. 41, U.S. 301 and Fruitville Rd.  Timing issues with other signals throughout the city will now be reviewed and recalibrated.  When signals are not timed properly to accommodate for changes in traffic patterns, there can be unintentional consequences including exacerbating congestion and adding to drivers' frustration.

Working with the state, our Engineering Division secured $410,000 from FDOT which will allow us to hire a specialized contractor familiar with the signals in Sarasota County.  They will evaluate 48 intersections in the city limits and retime those signals when warranted. The intersections will be along Orange Ave., 12th St., Tuttle Ave., Dr. MLK, Jr. Way, Main St., Osprey Ave., Ringling Blvd., and Lemon Ave.  For a detailed list click here.

Sarasota County also has a retiming project underway to address County maintained signals. The City and County will coordinate on these projects.

If you have a concern about a signalized intersection in the city limits not on the list, please contact City Engineer Alex DavisShaw:  941-954-4181 or Daniel Ohrenstein:  941-365-2200 ext. 4371

12th St. and Lime Ave. is one of 48 signalized intersections that will be reviewed. 

We anticipate the contractor, Albeck Gerken, will have crews working at the various sites within the next couple of weeks.   
FDOT: US 41 & Gulfstream Ave. Meeting - March 28   After much discussion between City staff and FDOT officials about the need to improve the U.S. 41 and Gulstream Ave. intersection, FDOT is ready to hear from the public.

On Tues., March 28, they will host a community open house to explain and gather input on two proposals:
  • Convert the intersection into a roundabout
  • Expand the intersection and add a third southbound left turn lane heading from downtown along U.S. 41 toward the barrier islands

During the open house, you'll have the chance to see videos modeling the two alternatives, ask questions one-on-one with FDOT representatives, and provide comments.  Staff from the City Engineering Division also will be on hand.


The meeting will be held Tues., March 28 from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail.


To learn more click here


FDOT is considering two alternatives to improve U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Ave. 


In other FDOT news, we expect work to begin soon to add a designated right turn only lane on northbound U.S. 41 at Fruitville Rd.  That designated lane should alleviate the stacking we experience during peak drive times as people come off the barrier islands. That improvement will be in place by early summer.


Many of the major heavily traveled roads in the city limits are state highways.  So, we continue to keep the lines of communication open with FDOT and seek opportunities for improvement wherever possible.  


Parks & Rec - Sarasota Garden Club Award  Congratulations to the Landscape Division in the Parks & Rec Department for being honored recently with a landscaping civic beautification award from the Sarasota Garden Club.
City Commissioners Alpert and Chapman celebrated with Parks & Rec staff
at the Garden Club award ceremony.
The award recognizes the increased level of service at Pioneer Park including daily clean up of the area.  Invasive Brazilian peppers were removed from the pond to open the view from the deck, which was replaced.  Also, the pedestrian bridge, which crosses a stream through the park, was replaced and is visually pleasing.

Located at Cocoanut Ave. and 11th St. and approximately 8 acres, Pioneer Park has become a popular destination for residents moving into new developments in the area and who are looking for open green space to enjoy. 

Pioneer Park in downtown Sarasota. 
We appreciate the Landscape Division's dedication this year as they  were transferred from the Public Works Department to the newly created Parks & Rec Department.  Congratulations, all!

City Commission Election - March 14  Reminder:  The general election for two at-large City Commission seats will be held next Tuesday, March 14.

A total of eight candidates are on the ballot vying for two seats:

If no candidate wins a majority (50% plus one) of the votes, then a runoff election between the 3 top vote getters will be held May 9.    


If someone receives a majority, that person will be elected and those with the second and third highest vote totals will move on to the runoff.

In this day and age when many people shy away from the spotlight and rigors of elected office, we greatly appreciate having a full slate of qualified individuals who are passionate about the city and want to contribute to charting Sarasota's course for the next four years.
Lido Key Jazz Concert  Congratulations to the Lido Key Residents Association for hosting a fun, relaxing jazz concert at the Lido Beach pavilion last weekend!

With picture perfect weather and a lively band belting out toe tapping tunes, the 3rd annual event drew over 200 people -- including Steve Zadrozny, a City of Sarasota employee, who enjoyed it so much he captured a few minutes with his mobile phone.  Thanks, Steve for sharing -- enjoy!

3rd annual Lido Key Residents Association Jazz Concert 

Upcoming Events 
Spring Fine Art Festival
Gulfstream Ave.
Sat., March 11 & Sun., March 12
  10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

MSF On The Road 
Bayfront Community Center
Mon., March 13
5 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Gem & Jewelry Show 
Municipal Auditorium
Thurs., March 16
8 a.m. - 10 a.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

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

The Sarasota Ballet - A Tribute to Ashton 
Fri., March 10 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 11 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Tues., March 14 - 7 p.m.
Wed., March 15 - 7 p.m.

Sarasota Concert Association - Royal Scottish Nat'l Orchestra
Thurs., March 16 - 7:30 p.m.

Fri., March 17 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra - Masterworks: Titan 
Sat., March 18 - 8 p.m.
Sun., March 19 - 2:30 p.m.

Jump, Jive & Wail featuring The Jive Aces 
Tues., March 21 - 8 p.m.

Ringling Town Hall - Kofi Annan 
Wed., March 22 - 10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Shadowland by Pilobolus 
Thurs., March 23 - 8 p.m.

Fri., March 24 - 8 p.m.
Sat., March 25 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sun., March 26 - 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 
Mon., March 27 - 8 p.m.

Momix - Opus Cactus 
Tues., March 28 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Concert Association - Piano Duo 
Thurs., March 30 - 7:30 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

  • With the Spring Fine Art special event occurring in downtown this weekend, pay on entry will be in effect at the Palm Ave. Garage on Saturday and Sunday, March 11 & 12.  $5 cash to park.
  • Daylight Saving Time starts this Sun., March 12 at 2 a.m. -- so remember to turn your clocks forward one hour.
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