From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 16, 2019
With raindrops pattering down on Sarasota Bay, this boater employed an umbrella to stay dry as he motored toward the mooring field earlier this week.  If it seems this has been an especially soggy summer, you're right!  Between 10-15 inches of rain has fallen in the Sarasota region within the past 30 days, which is 125-200 percent of above normal.  Fortunately, the City has not experienced any rainy weather related issues.  Staff will continue to monitor utility systems and low lying streets prone to short-term localized flooding to ensure community safety.

  • City Commission
    Monday, Aug. 19 - 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wednesday, Aug. 21 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Wednesday, Aug. 21 - 11:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Community Workshop
    Wednesday, Aug. 21 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Human Relations Board
    Thursday, Aug. 22 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • City Commission Workshop
    Thursday, Aug. 22 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

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This Week's Items to Know:

Friday Fest - Aug. 16 CANCELLED   Unfortunately, the soggy weather has prompted the cancellation of Friday Fest tonight (Aug. 16).   
Typically, this fun, free summertime concert series goes on rain or shine, but the portico at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is still under construction and the food trucks do not have a covered area. 
So, the next -- and final -- Friday Fest concert will be
Friday Fest last June.  Photo courtesy:  Norm Schimmel 
 September 20 at 5 p.m. (weather permitting) featuring Ari and the Alibis
Beach chairs and blankets are welcome.  No coolers, please.     
Held on the Van Wezel lawn adjacent to Sarasota Bay, the venue is spectacular.  Add in a breathtaking Sarasota sunset dipping into the water's edge and you'll see why Friday Fest is a summer highlight. 
Many thanks to Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel and her outstanding staff for coordinating and executing this summertime fun for the community.
Lift Station 87 - Update This week, crews began removing sheet piling panels from the Lift Station 87 construction site in Luke Wood Park.  That's the telltale sign that the wetwell, 50 feet deep, is now complete -- a significant milestone with this critical infrastructure improvement project. 
Once the panels are removed, construction of the lift station building will get underway.  It's expected to take approximately one year to complete with the structure being built to withstand the forces of a category 3 hurricane.    
Aerial view of the LS 87 site in early August.  The sheet piling panels on the sides of the wetwell excavation area are now being removed.
Removal of the sheet piling panels, which were driven into the ground for the wetwell construction, requires heavy machinery which can involve some vibration.  We appreciate the patience of those in the neighboring areas as crews wrap up this phase of the project.
Once finished and operational, Lift Station 87 will handle approximately one-third of the City's wastewater as it flows to the treatment facility on 12th Street with underground piping expected to last at least 100 years.   
For more information please visit 
Partners for Green Places -  Grant Deadline 8/19   Attention human services and environmental nonprofits!  The deadline to apply for a unique sustainability grant to boost your organization's energy efficiency and bottom line is right around the corner -- Monday, August 19.  But, don't worry, the application is easy to complete. 
The Partners for Green Places program focuses on investing in energy efficiency for nonprofits through sustainable upgrades and practices.  The less a nonprofit spends on energy, the more it will have to further its mission in the community.  
An energy audit and "roadmap assessment" valued at about $5,000 will be conducted for 12 nonprofits in Sarasota County with missions focused on human services or the environment.  Those selected will also have the opportunity to apply for support funding to implement energy and water efficiency recommendations from the roadmap assessment. 
Three area nonprofits previously were selected to participate in a pilot program to share their experiences and educate others on their experiences with the energy upgrades:  Harvest House, Children First and Historic Spanish Point. 
This grant opportunity is funded by Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota Community Foundation and the Partners for Places matching grant program in partnership with Sarasota County Government and the City of Sarasota.  
For more information visit www.SCGov.Net or call 941-861-5000.    
Information Technology - Staff Achievement  The City's Information and Technology Director, Herminio Rodriguez, recently graduated from the Certified Government Chief Information Officer Program. He is one of only 11 IT professionals from local governments around the state in the program's Class of 2019. 
City of Sarasota Information and Technology Director Herminio Rodriguez recently became
a Certified Government Chief Information Officer.

This rigorous, year-long training is conducted by the the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University and the Florida Local Government Information Systems Association. The program raises the academic and professional standards of Florida's public sector technology leaders. 
Kudos to Herminio and his team for their work with cyber security and the critical service they provide our City each day, and congratulations on this professional accomplishment.  
#CityHallSelfie Day   The City's social media channels were taken over on Thursday with municipal selfies as we celebrated national #CityHallSelfie Day.
For the third straight year, our dedicated City employees accepted the challenge to show their public service pride by taking a selfie photo of themselves at City Hall or other Sarasota municipal location.  Our Communications team then shared the photos with the
This fun Parking Division selfie taken atop the State Street Garage earned the People's Choice Award as the most liked by followers on the City of Sarasota social media channels.   
hashtag #CityHallSelfie.
From Mayor Liz Alpert to lifeguards to the Planning Department, Office of the City Auditor & Clerk, David (yes, the City's logo got involved), our civic pride was on display.  I joined the fun as well, pausing to snap a selfie outside our municipal offices with a lovely water feature flowing.
Organized three years ago by the nonprofit ELGL (Engaging Local Government Leaders), #CityHallSelfie Day has become a popular and engaging event for local government employees around the nation.   
Hundreds of cities participated and competed for bragging rights for largest group photo, funniest, most creative and more --- all while showcasing their pride in local government.   
Residents and visitors stopping by Sarasota City Hall also joined in the #CityHallSelfie fun. 
If you missed the big day, no worries!  Our #CityHallSelfie pics are posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Enjoy!
Thanks to all for the smiles, laughs and creativity showing how much we enjoy being part of the City of Sarasota!    

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Friday Fest - Ari and the Alibis 
Fri., September 20 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
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