From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
October 19, 2018
A view of the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier on a sunny afternoon earlier this week. Sarasota Bay Watch will host its second annual cleanup at the pier, 920 John Ringling Blvd., this Saturday, Oct. 20, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., a briefing at 9 a.m. and water entry at 9:15. Certified divers, limited kayakers and "topside" volunteers are invited to help remove marine debris and lost fishing gear, which will reduce bird and marine animal entanglement while maintaining a healthy habitat and fishing environment for all to enjoy. The Sarasota Police Department's dive team will be supporting this event, and City staff will coordinate the drop-off and pickup of waste receptacles for the volunteers. For more information and to register, visit  

  • Firefighters' Pension Plan Board of Trustees Regular Meeting
    Wed., October 24 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., October 24 - 5:30 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Commercial Plans Examiner
Commission Reporter
Deputy City Auditor & Clerk
Equipment Mechanic III - Refuse Collection
Facility Maintenance Tech/Janitorial - Van Wezel (Part Time)
GIS Analyst - IT
GIS Coordinator
Golf Course Attendant (Part Time)
Golf Shop Attendant (Part Time)
Park & Rec - Facility Maintenance Tech (Part Time)
Parks & Rec - Head Life Guard
Parks & Rec - Life Guard (Part Time)
Parks & Rec - Recreation Specialist (Part Time)
Parks Service Worker (Part Time)
Pension Specialist
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant - Robert L. Taylor Community Center (Part Time)
Risk Management Analyst
Senior Internal Auditor
Solid Waste Helper (Part Time)
Technical Assistant - Van Wezel (Part Time)
Utility Construction Inspector - Engineering Tech III
     Volunteer/Unpaid Intern    

This Week's Items to Know:

Citizens Academy - Registration Open    City residents, property owners and business owners interested in learning more about their local government are encouraged to register and participate in the upcoming Citizens' Academy, an interactive, eight-week educational course. Most sessions will be held Thursday evenings from 5:30-8 p.m. beginning Jan. 24. 

We're excited to see this course being offered once again following a five-year hiatus. It's a great opportunity for our residents to become more engaged with us and experience all the ways the City is serving the community, from how our Utilities Department treats and maintains healthy drinking water to how the Sarasota Police Department keeps us safe. There are also exciting behind-the-scenes visits planned to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Robert L. Taylor Community Center and other City facilities.

There is no charge for the eight-week course, but participants are asked to commit to attending the eight sessions. Space is limited to 25 participants.  A graduation ceremony will be held during the March 18 City Commission meeting.

View the full Citizens' Academy schedule and complete an online application at

For more information, contact Neighborhood Planner Nancy Kelly at 941-954-2612.  
Living Seawall - Ceremony    Our Sustainability team hosted a celebration Friday morning to mark the installation of the new living seawall at Bayfront Park. The 36 artificial reef balls are now positioned in front of the traditional seawall adjacent to O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill, and Friday's event was an opportunity to recognize all of the partners who helped make it a reality.

The living seawall was created and designed by a Sarasota company, Reef Innovations.
Created by Reef Innovations, a company based right here in Sarasota, the living seawall will attract fish, oysters and other marine creatures as our environment recovers from the red tide algal bloom. The seawall will also help reduce the wave action on Sarasota Bay, and thus limit the scouring and erosion of the sea floor and the elimination of sea grasses; plus, it's aesthetically pleasing. 

This innovative project was funded with settlement dollars received from the BP Deep Horizon oil spill, which the City Commission wisely directed toward environmentally minded projects. Mote Marine Laboratory will be working with us to monitor the structures and study how they function going forward, with hopes that they can be deployed elsewhere in our community. We urge you to visit Bayfront Park, check out the living seawall and let us know what you think.

The City of Sarasota hosted a small ceremony Friday at O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill to celebrate the installation of the living seawall and recognize the City staff and partners from Reef Ball Foundation and Mote Marine Laboratory for their hard work on the project.

Laurel Park Improvements    Last week, City staff began making improvements at Laurel Park.  The work includes the removal of the existing playground equipment, installation of new play equipment, new landscaping, a new irrigation system, tree trimming and painting the gazebo.

Staff worked with residents of the historic Laurel Park neighborhood on the design of the playground equipment, which will include a central "tree trunk" with slides and climbing areas as well as a new, traditional swing set.

Access to the park will be limited for the next week or two as we work to complete the project as safely and efficiently as possible. 
Laurel Park will reopen in a few weeks with brand-new playground equipment, landscaping and other improvements.

United Way - Day of Caring and more     Last Friday, a group of City employees took part in  United Way Suncoast 's 2018 Day of Caring  by volunteering for a painting project at  the Salvation Army's Sarasota campus . They joined more than 2,600 volunteers from organizations and companies around the Sarasota-Manatee region pitching in that day to help the community.

City employees volunteered to spend a recent morning painting at the Salvation Army's Sarasota campus.
The group provided a fresh coat of paint on a Salvation Army community room that is used by the City's Homeless Outreach Teams as they work with homeless individuals in the community and connect them with local service providers.

The City also supported the United Way with its annual Pancake Breakfast, held Thursday at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in conjunction with our employee health fair. City employees contributed more than $500  at the breakfast, which is one of many United Way fundraisers our organization takes part in throughout the year. 

Last year, the City of Sarasota was recognized by United Way as one of its "100 Most Generous Workplaces" in the Suncoast region (DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties). We are proud to work with such generous and caring employees who support United Way Suncoast and its many local programs.

Facilities/Assets Manager Rob Schanley tops his pancakes with syrup at this week's United Way fundraiser breakfast at Robert L. Taylor Community Center.
Dog Costume Contest at Arlington Paw Park    Is your dog getting dressed up this Halloween? If so, plan to join the City's Parks and Recreation Department as it hosts a  "Bark-O-Ween" dog costume contest next Thursday, Oct. 25, at Arlington Paw Park, 2650 Waldemere St.

Residents are invited to dress up their dog and walk in a judged costume parade for a chance to win some fun prizes donated by local dog-friendly businesses. There will be goody bags for both people and pets, music and prizes for the funniest costume, most creative costume, judge's choice and best overall.

The event is from 5:30-6:30 p.m., with the parade beginning at 6 p.m. We're asking participants to register by Saturday, Oct. 20, to ensure we can provide enough goody bags, although registration will also be welcomed that day. Registration forms can be picked up at the Arlington Park facility's front desk.

Drawdown with Paul Hawken at Van Wezel     Paul Hawken, one of the most respected and widely read sustainable business leaders of our time, will be speaking Wednesday, Oct. 24, at our Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall about Project Drawdown, his new climate solutions project.

Paul Hawken is coming to the Van Wezel on Oct. 24.
As part of the start-up nonprofit, Hawken worked with over 200 scholars, students, scientists, researchers and activists to map, measure and model the 100 most substantive solutions that can cumulatively reverse global warming by reducing and sequestering greenhouse gases. The research has resulted in a New York Times bestseller, "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming."

Hawken's talk is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Van Wezel's Grand Foyer and is presented by the City of Sarasota and the Climate Council of Sarasota-Manatee. Pre-registration is required and will include a reception and presentation to follow. Tickets can be purchased online.

Many of us with the City are looking forward to hearing Hawken's insights and how they might be applied to local commerce and environmental policy as we continue to face the challenge of global warming. We hope you can join us.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Van Wezel's full 2018-2019 season is now on sale. (Individual tickets for The Lion King go on sale November 2.)   
To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 

Kenny G 
Fri., October 19 - 8 p.m.
Bob Dylan & His Band 
  Mannheim Steamroller Christmas will be at the Van Wezel on Nov. 17.

Sun., October 21 - 8 p.m.
Sold out
The Simon & Garfunkel Story 
Sat., October 27 - 8 p.m.
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen 
Tues., November 6 - 8 p.m.
Capitol Steps  
Wed., November 7 - 8 p.m.
Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock & Roll Part II 
Fri., November 9 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular Vol. 3 
Sat., November 10 - 7:30 p.m.
Young Guns of Country 2018
Sun., November 11 - 7 p.m.
Stills & Collins 
Fri., November 16 - 8 p.m.
Sold out 
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 
Sat., November 17 -  2 p.m. & 8 p.m. 
Beyond Glory 
Mon., November 19 - 7:30 p.m. 
Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 
Fri., November 23 - 8 p.m.
KC and the Sunshine Band 
Sat., November 24 - 8 p.m. 
Catch KC and the Sunshine Band on Nov. 24.

Black Violin 
Tues., November 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Jim Brickman:  A Joyful Christmas 
Wed., November 28 - 7:30 p.m. 
The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live  
Tues., December 11 - 7:30 p.m.
A Christmas Carol 
Sun., December 16 - 6 p.m.
Itzhak Perlman: In The Fiddler's House 
Mon., December 17 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 7:30 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.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
Sat., December 22 - 6:30 p.m.
The Sweet Caroline Tour will be at the Van Wezel on New Year's Eve.

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 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 30 - 1 p.m. & 6:30 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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager