From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 13, 2018
Residents and City staff celebrated the grand opening of a new soccer field at Eastwood Park this week.  The park is located southeast of Fruitville Rd. and Beneva Rd. in the Eastwood Park neighborhood.  After engaging residents about ways to activate the area, it was determined the best recreational use would be a soccer field for all ages with seating areas for spectators.  Many children attended the grand opening and enjoyed a scrimmage game.  Nice to see the field in use already!  A playground also will be installed later this year.  Thanks to Parks & Rec Director Jerry Fogle and his team for addressing these needs while working on the Parks & Rec Master Plan.   We'll update the City Commission on the citywide Master Plan process next month.


  • General Employees' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Mon., April 16 - 8:30 a.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., April 16 - 2:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., April 17 - 8:30 a.m.

    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., April 18 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Tree Advisory Committee
    Wed., April 18 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Ready for 100
    Wed., April 18 - 6 p.m.
    Robert L. Taylor Community Complex - 1845 John Rivers St.
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., April 19 - 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.
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Maintenance Technician - SPD
Parks Service Worker - Part-time
Pension Plans Administrator 
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
RLTCC Lifeguards
  Senior Pension Accountant
   Volunteer/Unpaid Intern

This Week's Items to Know:

U.S 41 Construction Update - Night Work   Infrastructure work along U.S. 41 between 10th St. and 14th St. continues as FDOT preps the area for the two new roundabouts.

We have been in close contact with FDOT and project contractors to
U.S. 41 south of 11th Street 
ensure residents and business owners receive advance notice of potentially disruptive night work and other issues.

Limited night work is scheduled for the next two weeks:

April 16 & 17: 8 p.m. - 6 a.m. -  Between 9th St. and 11th St., crews will work at night to cut and cap an 8-inch water main.  Temporary lane closures could be necessary while crews access the water main in the road. Those in the vicinity may hear the backup alarms of heavy machinery and see work lights.  Customers who may be impacted by the water shutdown will be notified.

April 23 & 248 p.m. and 6 a.m. - Crews will be at 14th Street cutting and capping a 6-inch water main.  Temporary lane closures may occur and construction noise may be heard in the area.  A temporary water shutdown will be needed and the timing is being closely coordinated with The Reserve to minimize impact on that business.    

Please keep in mind the speed limit through the construction area is reduced to 30 mph, and speeding fines are doubled when workers are present.         
The Bay - Presentations Scheduled   Sasaki, the planning firm hired by the Sarasota Bay Planning Organization to study the Bayfront, gather community input, and devise a master plan for a proposed cultural arts park along the Bayfront, is entering an exciting, new work phase.

The group has configured three possibilities on what the Bayfront could be imagined as in the future, including significant green space while housing many cultural arts programs.

The City Commission will receive an update from Sasaki on Monday, April 16 at 6 p.m.  It's important to note this process is in the early stages and this will be the first update the Commission has received regarding preliminary concepts.

Then, Sasaki will hold several public open houses:

Tues., April 17:  R.L. Taylor Community Complex:   5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Wed., April 18:  Van Wezel Grand Foyer:  8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  
Wed., April 18:  Van Wezel Grand Foyer:  11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
Wed., April 18 (Corrected Date):  Herald Tribune Forum:  5:30 p.m. 

The H-T Community Forum is free and will be held at the Sarasota Orchestra Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail.  With limited seating, registration is requested.  Click here for more information.

Sasaki is working diligently to engage the community.  We hope you're able to attend one of the upcoming public sessions to learn more about the process before Sasaki brings a final proposal to the City Commission within the next couple of months.               
Climate Change Symposium - April 17    I'm looking forward to being one of four featured speakers next week during the Suncoast Climate Change Symposium in Sarasota.  It will be held Tues., April 17 from 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at our historic Municipal Auditorium.

With a climate adaptation plan in place, joining the Sierra Club's ambitious Ready for 100 initiative and being part of the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the City is organizing to evolve a job creating, carbon neutral future here.  I'll discuss the City's approach to climate change and the job creating potential for the future.


Also slated to speak: 

Dr. Stuart L. Pimm, Duke University -  Dr. Pimm will discuss global
   species diversity and why Florida is now a top priority

Dick Russell, author - Mr. Russell will address the state of the
   fossil fuel industry and alternatives for the future

Father Matthew J. Grady, Cardinal Mooney High Chaplain -
   Father Grady will talk about the Catholic vision for a sustainable

There is a modest $20 fee ($10 for students) which includes the lectures, food, beverages, music and book signing.  For tickets and to learn more please visit

Ready for 100 -  Meeting April 18    The conversation about Sarasota's Ready for 100 initiative will continue next week as the Sustainability team hosts another community discussion and input session.

The meeting will be held Wed., April 18 from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.

The City Commission joined the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 movement, setting goals for the City's operations to use 100% renewable energy by 2030 and the entire community by 2045.

These are ambitious goals and we look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions to help make our quality of life in Sarasota even better. 

Earth Day Celebration - April 20    We'll celebrate Earth Day next week with a lunchtime event in downtown at Selby Five Points Park.  The event will take place Friday, April 20 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. -- and we hope you'll be able to stop by during lunch.

In addition to music, raffle prizes, and many informational tables on how you can lead a greener more sustainable life, we're excited to
Attending the 2017 Earth Day. 
announce a tiny home will be on display.  Tiny homes have become an attractive alternative for those seeking ways to reduce their footprint and we're pleased residents will have an opportunity to see one in person and eyeball the possibilities.

Prizes will be raffled at no cost including gift certificates for JDubs, kayaking, and also an earth bin composting system.  And, to continue to grow the City's beautiful urban canopy, several 5-gallon trees will be raffled. 

Also, as part of the Earth Day celebration, City staff will be at the Newtown Farmers Market at the same time giving away 30 trees.  The Market is located in the parking lot of the  City's Economic Development Office, 1782 Dr. MLK Jr. Way.  The tree giveaway will take place from noon to 5 p.m. April 20th and will include 5-gallon sizes of red maple, chicksaw plum, crape myrtle, shumard oak and sweetbay magnolia.

We're encouraging everyone attending Earth Day to consider taking a sustainable form of transportation to get there, whether it's walking, bicycling, using iRide, or mass transit. That day (April 20), SCAT will host "Try Transit Day" and will offer free bus service for all riders.

This year, Earth Day is being hosted by the City of Sarasota in partnership with Sarasota County.  We appreciate their involvement to help preserve and protect Mother Earth.

Planning - Booker Middle School     Planning Director Steve Cover put on his teaching cap and spoke to Booker Middle School students this week about urban planning.  But, it wasn't a lecture.  Steve engaged the students and asked them to design a city during his presentation.

He explained the many and varied issues that planners face virtually every day as the result of approved land uses and the subsequent impact on adjacent properties.  They discussed the importance of having certain land uses be in close proximity as well as street and transportation systems.  

Planning Director Steve Cover talking with Booker Middle School
students about urban planning.

Thanks, Steve, for sharing your expertise in a fun, interesting way to engage the students.  Who knows...this classroom conversation may have sparked an interest that will lead to one of the students becoming an urban planner one day!

Communications - AWWA Presentation    Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg was invited recently to present to a national conference about engaging the media with sustainability issues.  She was part of a 4-member communications team from the Tampa Bay region that presented at the American Water
Sr. Communications Manager Jan Thornburg speaking at the AWWA Sustainable Water Management conference.

Works Association Sustainable Water Management conference in Seattle. 

The team discussed the importance of communications and engaging the community at the very start of a project.  And, when explaining a complex issue, to use layman's terms rather than technical jargon and acronyms.

For those who don't interact with the media regularly, it can be a bit confusing, mystifying and overwhelming trying to figure out what content is considered newsworthy.  With 20 years' experience in television news as an anchor/reporter and 13 years in Communications with the City of Sarasota, Jan shed light on the  mysterious world of news decision making.  Through case studies and success stories with our local media outlets, she shared an insider's perspective on how to garner news coverage of important infrastructure and sustainability issues.  Helpful knowledge -- thanks for sharing our experiences in Sarasota with our colleagues from throughout the country.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through December 2018.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit    

Wynona and the Big Noise 
Sat., April 14 - 8 p.m.

Chris Botti 
Sun., April 15 - 7 p.m.

Let It Be 
Tues., April 17 - 8 p.m.

ABBA the Concert 
Wed., April 18 - 8 p.m.

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma 
Thurs., April 19 - 8 p.m.

Sarasota Orchestra 
Fri., April 20 - 8 p.m.
Sat., April 21 - 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Bill Engvall 
Sun., April 22 - 7 p.m.

A Chorus Line 
Tues., April 24 - 8 p.m.
Wed., April 25 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Mummenschanz - You & Me 
Thurs., April 26 - 8 p.m.

Yanni 25 - Live at The Acropolis Anniversary Concert Tour 
Sun., April 29 - 7 p.m.

The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 8 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 8 p.m.

Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live 
Tues., December 11 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 8 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.

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 - 7:30 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

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