From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
June 2, 2017 

The MURT (Multi-Use Recreational Tail) on Bird Key is now open to the public!  Although you may still see some visible signs of construction along the route, the project is substantially completed and ready for use.  With this recreational trail, walkers, runners and bicyclists will be able to travel safely from Marina Jack on the Bayfront out to Bird Key -- and, ultimately to St. Armands and Lido Key.  This is a significant step in connecting our community and improving mobility options while encouraging fitness and healthy activity.  Enjoy!


  • City Commission
    Mon., June 5 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - City Commission

  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., June 6 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., June 7 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • St. Armands Parking Garage Workshop
    Fri., June 9:  8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.
    St. Armands Key Lutheran Church - 40 N. Adams Dr.
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Administrative Specialist I
Control System Tech I
Deputy City Auditor and Clerk
Facility Maintenance Technician
Golf Course Attendant (Part Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Mechanic (Part Time)
Maintenance Mechanic II
Pension Plans Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (Children's Fountain)
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
Utilities Reliability Engineer    
Utility Mechanic I

This Week's Items to Know:

Plan Ahead:  Orange Ave. Lane Closures   The City has issued right-of-way usage permits to FPL as the company replaces utility poles along
Watch for temporary lane closures along Orange Ave. for FPL crews. 
Orange Ave.  The work stretches from 10th Street to Ringling Blvd. and is being split into two segments:  (1) 10th St. to Fruitville Rd.  (2)  2nd St. to Ringling Blvd.

Crews started at 10th St. this week and are working south to Fruitville.  Expect possible delays 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Then, on June 5, FPL plans to begin the second segment, stretching from 2nd St. to Ringling Blvd.  To lessen inconvenience and potential traffic issues downtown, this work will be done at night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The project is expected to wrap up at the end of June.

Bayfront Park - Shoreline Protection  Crews will begin mobilizing next week (June 5) to construct Phase I of a living seawall along the water adjacent to O'Leary's in Bayfront Park.  The shoreline has been eroding significantly and this work is necessary to stabilize and protect this special area of the heavily visited Bayfront Park.

The new seawall will tie into the existing one, and the crushed shells along the shoreline will be replaced with sand. 

To protect the shoreline, a new seawall will be constructed in front of O'Leary's. 

Construction will be underway through September 22.  During that time, kayak landing and dinghy mooring will not be permitted in the construction area.  We appreciate everyone's patience during this necessary project to protect and improve the environment.

Once this traditional, basic seawall is complete, we'll embark on Phase II, which is an exciting new sustainability project:  a living seawall.  We've been collaborating with Mote on this project, which is designed to absorb wave action rather than deflect it, while restoring fish and wildlife habitat. More on that in the coming months!   

Lido Beach Erosion - Sea Turtle Nesting   Late last week, we experienced what's known as a king high tide -- a higher than normal high tide due to the alignment of the sun, moon and earth.  During that time, I visited Lido Beach and the visual impacts were particularly unsettling.

Some areas of the beach are now so eroded, just a sliver of sand separates the Gulf of Mexico from the beach grass and island infrastructure.  The safe area for sea turtles to nest on the beach has dwindled to the point there's concern these threatened sea creatures will not have enough sand to lay eggs.  And, while the black skimmer colony, where hundreds of threatened seabirds nest, is intact, some of the birds appear to be stressed by the close proximity of humans.

As good stewards of Mother Earth, we need to do what we can to live in harmony with our feathered and flippered friends and share the beach.  More than ever, it's critical for the Army Corps of Engineers long term beach stabilization project to begin. Unfortunately, Siesta Key residents are litigating this much needed safety and preservation project, despite the City Commission setting aside a $2.5 million contingency fund in the unlikely event something unexpected occurs with the dredging and sand replacement.

The Lido Key Residents Association has hired a legal team to navigate the judicial system and work toward bringing the shoreline stabilization permit review to a speedy, positive resolution for all.  If you can, consider donating to the legal fund via the LKRA website.   

Hurricane Season: Be Prepared  Hurricane season has officially started and forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center say there's a 45% chance of an above normal season, 35% chance of near normal, and 20% below normal.

Whatever occurs, the City has a coordinated plan at the ready for before and after
Hurricane season runs
through November. 
the storm.  During the off-season, our Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering, worked diligently developing preparedness plans for the City and coordinated with emergency operations divisions in Sarasota County, the region, and the State of Florida.

It's important for individuals and families to do their part as well.  Now is the time to assemble an emergency supply kit.  The National Hurricane Center recommends having a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and drinking water (one gallon per person per day).  Include prescription medications.  A radio, and flashlight with extra batteries also are important.  For a recommended supply list click here.

To encourage residents to be storm ready, the State of Florida is offering a "Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday" June 2-4. Eligible items are listed here.

Please note:  Evacuation zones in Sarasota County were revised for the 2017 hurricane season based on updated data for sea, lake and overland surges.  You're encouraged to know your evacuation zone. A helpful interactive map is available on the Sarasota County website
New Water Restrictions  New lawn watering restrictions throughout southwest Florida will begin Monday, June 5.  With the ongoing drought and water shortage, the Southwest Florida Water Management District has imposed a once a week restriction in
SWFWMD will impose a new once a week watering restriction starting June 5. 
effect June 5 through August 1

Even number addresses in Sarasota may water on Tuesdays before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Odd number addresses may water on Thursdays before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Reclaimed water is still subject to voluntary watering hours.

Car washing is included in the once a week restriction.

Hand watering of plants can be done at any time.

While some larger municipalities, like St. Petersburg, have their own irrigation restrictions, the City of Sarasota adheres to Sarasota County and SWFWMD watering regulations. We hope everyone follows these new restrictions and does their part to conserve water in any way they can.

More information can be found on the SWFWMD website.

Police Advisory Board Vacancies  The City Commission continues to seek a diverse pool of candidates for multiple vacancies on our two law enforcement advisory boards:  Independent Police Advisory Panel and the Police Complaint Committee
Currently, two seats are vacant on each of the boards.

Both advisory boards help provide transparency and accountability with our police department. They also help foster community trust in how the department operates. Specific guidelines and details about each board are available online.

These are volunteer positions and require that individuals live within the city limits.  Meetings are either monthly or bi-monthly.

An application can be submitted online or downloaded.
Newtown - Historic Preservation Award   Congratulations to those involved with our recently established Newtown Conservation Historic District!  Their efforts were honored by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation with an Outstanding Achievement recognition for our 'Newtown Alive' project.

For the past 18 months, a task force of residents appointed by the City Commission, identified historic treasures in Newtown.  Over 40 interviews were conducted with community members to preserve their personal accounts of what every day life was like in Newtown during segregation and afterward.

A detailed written history of Newtown, known as 'Newtown Alive', was produced and 15 interpretive historical markers were manufactured and are now placed throughout the community.  A website and mobile app are in the works to help guide visitors around the historic trail.  If you haven't seen the markers yet, I encourage you to take a look.  Several are located right along Dr. MLK, Jr. Way. 

This was a community effort, led by Vicki Oldham, hired by the City, to shepherd the project from start to finish. Congratulations to the entire team!  We appreciate everyone's involvement in helping to preserve the history of this special community.           

Eagle Scout Project - Fruitville Rd Park    We're pleased to share an exciting and rare accomplishment in our community. Our Parks and Rec Department helped a Sarasota High student move that much closer to becoming an Eagle Scout!
Devin Beede constructing the benches
with his grandfather.

Devin Beede, 17, contacted us about a year and a half ago looking for ideas for a community service project -- a significant requirement toward earning the highest rank in the Boy Scouts:  Eagle Scout.

Staff recommended improvements at Fruitville Road Park and suggested he gather ideas by talking with residents who are passionate about the park.  Ultimately, with staff input, he ended up making 11 handcrafted wood benches.  Staff offered guidance with many aspects of the project including the design, kind of wood to use, weather treatment, size and more.  Just recently, we installed all the benches in the park.  What a sight!

Eagle Scout candidate Devin Beede with some of the
benches he handcrafted for Fruitville Rd. Park. 
Congratulations to Devin for his hard work on this nice addition to the park.  He has two more merit badges to complete before he becomes an Eagle Scout, which he expects to happen later this summer or early fall.

How significant will his achievement be?  Just 6% of all scouts reach the rank of Eagle Scout. So, he will become part of a small, distinguished group, known for becoming active leaders in their community. We'll keep you posted! 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through Nov. 2017.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 
Friday Fest:  Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones
Fri., June 16 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Diana Ross
Fri., June 23 - 8 p.m.

Friday Fest: Kettle of Fish
Fri., July 21 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

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

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

Doo Wop Spectacular 
Sat., November 4 - 7:30 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 16 - 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

Weekly Briefs will be on hiatus next week.  Enjoy the week and we'll be back June 16!

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