From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
March 9, 2018
Even the urban wildlife was basking in the sunny, mild temperatures in Sarasota this week!  We spotted these turtles sunbathing in Gillespie Park, floating along on a makeshift raft of what appeared to be a palm tree husk.


  • Community Workshop
    Mon., March 12 - 5:30 p.m.

    City Hall - Room 112

  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., March 13 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., March 13 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., March 14 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., March 15 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Accounts Receivable/Payable Specialist
Golf Course Attendant
Golf Shop Supervisor
Human Resources Coordinator
Irrigation Technician I
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Parks Service Worker - Part-time 
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
Rec Attendant (Children's Fountain)
  Senior Pension Accountant
Summer Camp Counselor - Temporary, Part-Time
   Volunteer/Unpaid Intern
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator *Apprentice      

This Week's Items to Know:

Herald-Tribune Community Forum - Development   The Herald-Tribune hosted an engaging community forum this week about development in downtown Sarasota and the "Billion Dollar Boom" the City is experiencing. 

Real Estate Editor Emeritus Harold Bubil provided helpful historical perspectives, noting that Sarasota has absorbed building booms
L-R: Planning Director Steve Cover, Herald-Tribune Real Estate Editor Emeritus Harold Bubil, Moderator Chris Wille and Michael Saunders Realtor Jonathan Abrams

nearly every decade over the past 125 years and there continues to be tremendous interest in the area.  The panel articulated the  current trend indicates people are buying in Sarasota and moving here to live year-round more so than in the past when buyers were almost exclusively part-time residents or investment speculators.

Much of the discussion and questions from the audience focused on transportation and mobility issues.  Our Planning Director, Steve Cover, was a panelist and emphasized that the City is committed to researching all viable alternative modes of transportation and enhancing sidewalk width and setbacks where legally possible to improve pedestrian safety and comfort.  With two transportation specialists now on staff, we have the expertise and manpower to dedicate to proactively address this important safety and quality of life issue.

Thanks to the Herald-Tribune for hosting another engaging and informative community forum!

U.S. 41 Construction Update    Those who travel along U.S. 41 between 14th and 10th Streets may have noticed increased construction activity as FDOT crews prepare to build two roundabouts.  One of the significant and time consuming aspects of the project involves replacing and relocating underground utilities, which is why FDOT expects the completion to take two years.

Late last week, Commissioner Ahearn-Koch and I met with Tahiti Park and Central Cocoanut residents and business owners, along with FDOT representatives, about the project.  It was a productive session with questions and concerns expressed directly to project coordinators.  A larger community meeting also was held the night before. We appreciate FDOT's willingness to host these listening sessions and their responsiveness and commitment to provide weekly neighborhood updates about upcoming work and the anticipated impact in the immediate areas.

Based on feedback, FDOT also agreed to install additional signage alerting drivers that left turns are not allowed from 14th Street to 10th Street.

Please keep in mind:  The speed limit is reduced to 30 mph through the construction zone and fines are doubled when construction workers are present.

The construction zone at U.S. 41 & 14th Street.

The Reserve, an urban oasis where you can sip a coffee or glass of wine over a good book, remains open for business during the construction.  Located on the SE corner of 14th and U.S. 41, directly across from the construction staging area, it's at ground zero for the construction.  Voted Best New Coffee Shop in Sarasota Magazine's Best of 2017, the Reserve opened last year with a commitment to help improve the North Trail.  I would encourage you to consider patronizing this charming and uniquely Sarasota establishment.  The Reserve is easily accessible off 14th from Cocoanut Ave. 
10th Street Boat Ramp - U.S. 41 Access Only   A reminder for boaters who use the 10th Street Boat Ramp at Centennial Park:  The only way to access the park is via U.S. 41.  The 10th Street entrance is now closed due to the road construction.    
Boaters can access the 10th Street Boat Ramp only via U.S. 41. 
RLTCC - Closed March 16 & 17    The Robert L. Taylor Community  Complex will be closed for scheduled maintenance on Fri., March 16 and Sat., March 17.

During the temporary closure, the water to the building will be shut off while repairs to the water system are made.  At the same time, crews will apply a fresh coat of paint to the interior of this well used facility.

Staff coordinated the maintenance to minimize the impact to the community.  We appreciate everyone's understanding as we give this popular regional rec facility some TLC.

The facility will reopen with regular hours on Mon., March 19.
Public Works Award - Bob Heggan     Congratulations to Bob Heggan, Capital Projects Coordinator in the Public Works Department, for being honored as the Project Manager of the Year by his peers with the Suncoast Branch of the American Public Works
L to R:  Alex Boudreau with Sarasota County Public Works presenting Bob Heggan with the Project Manager of the Year award.  

The recognition was bestowed for Bob's diligent oversight of the seawall and shoreline stabilization project at Bayfront Park. He was nominated by co-worker Bill Nichols who wanted to share Bob's successful management approach with other coastal communities considering similar projects.

This much needed improvement project was especially challenging due to site constraints, construction materials, tides, and stormy weather -- all while adhering to the FDEP work permit requirements.

The seawall was finished prior to Hurricane Irma's arrival and, as designed, it withstood the pounding surf and helped stabilize the shoreline with minimal sand erosion. 

Next, a living seawall demonstration project will be installed in front of this new traditional seawall.  The living seawall is being designed by a local company, Reef Innovations, to help reduce wave action while creating habitat for marine life.  Mote is studying the site to help us understand how the living seawall functions and its efficacy.  Bob will also oversee that project in conjunction with Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes.

Shoreline at Bayfront Park days before construction started; Same area immediately after the seawall was installed.

Kudos to Bob for taking extra care with the management of this complex project and ensuring we're good stewards of our precious environment.

Vintage & Collectibles Fair    The next City Marketplace Vintage & Collectibles Fair will be held this weekend Sat., March 10 and Sun., March 11.

If you're into vintage items, this is for you!  Antiques, books, clothing, jewelry, glassware will be featured during the 2-day event at the City's historic, Art Deco Municipal Auditorium located at 801 N. Tamiami Trail.


Event Hours:

Sat., March 10:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., March 11:  10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Adults are $3 and the ticket is good the entire weekend.  Children 12 & under are free.  

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through March 2018.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit    
National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba 
Sun., March 11 - 7 p.m.
Dance To The Movies
Mon., March 12 - 8 p.m.
Neil Berg's 109 Years of Broadway
Tues., March 13 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. 

Audra McDonald 
Wed., March 14 - 8 p.m.

Rick Springfield 
Thurs., March 15 - 8 p.m.

The Four Phantoms 
Wed., March 21 - 8 p.m.

Thurs., March 22 - 8 p.m.

Lewis Black 
Fri., March 23 - 8 p.m.

Academy of St. Martin In The Fields with Joshua Bell 
Sat., March 24 - 8 p.m.

Motown The Musical 
Tues., March 27 - 8 p.m.
Wed., March 28 - 8 p.m.
Thurs., March 29 - 8 p.m.
Fri., March 30 - 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

Reminder:  Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 11.  Don't forget to "spring ahead" and move 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 CityNews@SarasotaFL.Gov 

Tom Barwin
City Manager