From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
October 11, 2019

Early last Saturday, a dozen volunteers, including Alison and Mike Miller shown here, rolled up their sleeves and donned yard gloves for a cleanup day at Arlington Park.  These industrious residents removed over 100 feet of invasive potato and virginia creeper vines from the dog park fence, picked up 50 gallons of trash and raked pine straw from the entrance of the park to be redistributed throughout the park.  Excellent work, one and all!  Thank you for helping care for one of our most well used and popular neighborhood parks.


  • Bobby Jones Golf Club - Public Workshop
    Tuesday, Oct. 15 - 6 p.m.
    Bobby Jones Golf Club, 1000 Circus Blvd.

    Public Notice
  • Development Review Committee
    Wednesday, Oct. 16 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • Tree Advisory Committee
    Wednesday, Oct. 16 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop
    Wednesday, Oct. 16 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Parks, Recreation & Environmental Protection Board
    Thursday, Oct. 17 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

Featured Job of the Week 

Other great opportunities!  

This Week's Items to Know:

Lemon Ave. Streetscape: Lemon/Pineapple Closure 10/14 - 11/25  Work on the Lemon Avenue Streetscape continues to go well, and now crews have reached the point where they're ready to temporarily close the Lemon Ave./Pineapple intersection.  Effective Monday, Oct. 14, the intersection will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic and is scheduled to reopen Nov. 25.
During the closure, crews will level the curb and gutters and install brick pavers, continuing the pedestrian-friendly look and feel similar to the Lemon Ave. Mall just to the north and adjacent to Salute! and Mattison's.   A brick medallion also will be handcrafted and installed in the middle of the intersection.  
An aerial view of the Lemon Ave./Pineapple Ave. intersection which will be temporarily closed Oct. 14 - Nov. 25.  (Photo courtesy:  Jon F. Swift Construction)

So far the project is on time and looking good with impressive, new brick designs in the center of the Lemon Ave. intersections at Main Street and State Street.  If you haven't seen them yet, sometime this fall I encourage you to enjoy a healthy stroll through our vibrant downtown and check out the streetscape area.
From merchants to drivers to shoppers, we appreciate everyone's patience during the streetscape construction.  Our project manager, Richard Winder, and contractor, Jon F. Swift Construction, have worked diligently to coordinate with business owners to lessen impacts as much as possible. 
When the Pineapple Ave. section is completed, crews will turn their attention to Paul Thorpe Jr. Park, and the remainder of the improvement project will not require any street closures, which is indeed good news.  We anticipate the entire project will be finished by the new year. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to patronize our many and varied eateries and shops throughout downtown, all located within a short walk from two convenient parking garages (State Street and Palm Avenue) with two hours free parking.   
More information about the Lemon Ave. Streetscape project can be found at:     

Lido Pavilion - Renovation Underway   With the concession stand temporarily closed and a food truck providing daily service, improvements to the Lido Pavilion started this week.  Contractors are removing the old shingles on the pavilion to make way for a long-lasting aluminum roof, and already the industrial-sized kitchen hood arrived and soon will be installed inside the building.
While much of the pavilion area is cordoned off with construction caution tape, the public restrooms remain accessible and will be open throughout the duration of the renovation.  Due to the construction and public safety, access to the restroom area is limited to one entry point at the front of the building directly across from the food truck.
This week, a roofing contractor started removing the old shingles from the pavilion. 
So far, having a food truck on site is working well and serving its purpose offering food and beverages during the improvement project.  A food truck is there daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  
We'll keep you posted on the renovation!  
Bobby Jones Golf Club -  Workshop 10/15    We will host an important public workshop next Tuesday, Oct. 15 to discuss the future of new park land located within the 300-acre Bobby Jones Golf Club property.  Your ideas, suggestions and input are needed, and we'd like to hear from you!  Join us for the workshop Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Bobby Jones Golf Club clubhouse, 1000 Circus Blvd.
The workshop will be facilitated by Kimley-Horn, an engineering
Bobby Jones Golf Club property  
consultant for the City.  There will be a brief overview of the City Commission's recent direction to make Bobby Jones more accessible to the public by converting approximately 50 acres of golfing green space into park land.  Then, the meeting will be opened up for discussion.  
Bobby Jones is an urban oasis and environmental treasure cleaning stormwater and attracting an array of wildlife.  Located a short distance from where the Legacy Trail will soon connect, there are many opportunities to consider for this park space, from walking to bicycling to light recreation.
Simultaneously, we're in talks with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to possibly place a conservation easement on the entire 300-acre Bobby Jones property to preserve it in perpetuity for park and environmental land, and light recreation.
We'd like to hear your ideas about the park land and usage.  Please join the discussion at our public workshop Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.   Hope to see you there! 
Coon Key MURT - Starting Soon  Construction of the MURT (Multi-Use Recreational Trail) extension from Coon Key to St. Armands Key will begin within the next several weeks, and we'd like to give you a heads-up about some of the work you'll see along John Ringling Boulevard.  To reduce community impact, we're coordinating much-needed work with utilities, storm water, landscaping, mass transit and multi-modal transportation into this one project. 
This week, crews have been on site conducting soft digs
Preliminary work is underway along John Ringling Boulevard. 
and verifying utility locations.
In about three weeks, one traffic lane will be temporarily closed during the daytime to accommodate a large crane as crews remove the invasive Australian pines lining both sides of the roadway.   With very shallow root systems, these non-native trees topple over easily and can become a public safety concern, as we saw firsthand during Hurricane Irma.  Dozens of A-pines covered the road post-storm and blocked access to the barrier islands until crews could get in and remove them.
The Australian pines will be replaced with native Florida trees and vegetation that are hearty and will survive the sometimes extreme weather conditions in Sarasota.    
Post-Hurricane Irma:  Downed Australian pines blocked access
to the barrier islands. (Sept. 2017) 
The primary focus of the project is construction of a 10-foot wide sidewalk on both sides of the road for recreation and multi-modal transportation, which will extend the MURT and ultimately connect the Legacy Trail to the barrier islands.  A 16-inch water main will be replaced on the north side of John Ringling Boulevard, a storm drain also will be replaced, plus three bus shelters will be added along the route. The anticipated completion date is September 2020.   
Approximately half of the $1.9 million project is being funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.    
Vote for St. Armands Circle - Great Places in Florida   We were notified this week by the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association that St. Armands Circle is a finalist in its  2019 "Great Places in Florida People's Choice Award".    
The APA recognizes excellence in urban planning and creating a
St. Armands Circle is in the hunt for the Great Places in Florida People's Choice Award. (Photo: John Vargues)

sense of place, so this is indeed an honor for the Sarasota community.  Originally envisioned by John Ringling as a one-of-a-kind island destination, St. Armands Circle has become a world renowned charming, walkable shopping and dining destination.  It's definitely one of the jewels of Sarasota County!     

Let's share how we feel about this special commercial district by voting for St. Armands Circle for the People's Choice Award!  Just click and vote!  The poll is open until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18.    
More information, including detailed descriptions of each finalist, is available on the APA Florida website.   
Kudos to Brandy Wiesner, St. Armands Business Improvement District Operations Manager, who did the heavy lifting compiling a strong submission that landed St. Armands Circle as a top-six finalist. 
Community Canopy - Sold Out!   As with our previous tree giveaways with the Community Canopy program, the latest allotment was claimed very quickly.  We're pleased to report all 100 free trees were snapped up in less than 16 hours! 
Planting a red maple received via the
Community Canopy program (2018)
This latest offering of little gem magnolia, dahoon holly, sweetbay magnolia and baldcypress soon will be shipped and delivered to the residents' homes in a one-gallon container.   
In conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation, we've given away a total of 800 Florida native trees in recent years -- impressive! 
In addition to beautifying the community, when planted, these trees will help improve the environment by cleaning the air, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering the urban heat island effect  -- not to mention reducing stress and making us humans a bit calmer.  With those benefits alone, we look forward to growing our urban canopy even more! 
Kudos to our Sustainability team for leading the way with our sixth Community Canopy giveaway.  Stay tuned for the next one!   
Bike to Work Day  - Save the Date:  11/1   Join us Nov. 1 as we celebrate the culmination of Mobility Week and exploring different ways to commute to the workplace with Bike to Work Day.
The City is co-hosting a free, slow-paced 2.5-mile bike ride starting and ending at Payne Park on Friday, Nov. 1.  Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.--  and you may want to arrive on time for coffee, donuts and water generously provided by Kimley-Horn. Then, the group ride begins at 8 a.m. escorted by SPD bicycle officers.
A handful of City employees are dedicated to biking to work
Sustainability Program Educator Jeff Vredenburg bikes to work and is serving on the Bike to Work Day planning committee. 
when the day and schedule allow, including myself.  It's an excellent, healthy alternative to the traditional commute by car. I look forward to this fun ride, which is intended to spur individuals' thoughts on the feasibility of biking to work and what it may be like, particularly once the Legacy Trail is connected into downtown.  
In addition to the group ride, there will be a mobility fair at the park where you can learn about commuting options, including biking.   
Partnering organizations include Sarasota County, Sarasota-Manatee MPO, Kimley-Horn and Commute Connector, a Florida Department of Transportation program. 
Help us celebrate Bike to Work Day and register now for the group ride.  Hope to see you there! 
Clerk of the Circuit Court - Operation Green Light   The Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court will participate in a statewide initiative called Operation Green Light to make it easier for those with a suspended driver license to get their license reinstated.
Individuals with outstanding court fees will have the chance to pay overdue obligations -- including traffic tickets -- and in most cases have their license returned so they can get back on the road.   
Payment plans will be offered and collection agency fees waived -- a good savings since collection agency fees are as high as 25 percent.  
The program runs Oct. 14-18 and during that time the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court in Sarasota and Venice will have extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.   
Traffic tickets and court fines must be paid in the county in which they were received.  All 62 counties in Florida will participate in Operation Green Light.   A full list with business hours is available at  

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock & Roll:  Part III 
Fri., November 1
Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly - The Rock 'N' Roll Dream Tour 
Mon., November 4 

Dwight Yoakam
Sat., November 16
Straight No Chaser:  The Open Bar Tour 
Sun., November 17
Latin History for Morons 
Tues., November 19
Cirque Dreams Holidaze 
Fri., November 22
Sat., November 23
Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2019 
Fri., November 29
Sebastian Maniscalco:  You Bother Me 
Sat., November 30
The Book of Mormon 
January 7-12, 2020
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons 
Sun., February 9, 2020
Johnny Mathis - The Voice of Romance Tour 
Thurs., April 16, 2020
The Bachelor Live on Stage 
Thurs., May 7, 2020
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