From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
December 7, 2018

Tuesday morning's chilly weather wasn't even for the birds, as you can see by this great blue heron seemingly bundling itself up amidst the gloom and fog at the 10th Street Boat Ramp, with the City's seawater intake and pump station in the background. The good news is that we never have to wait too long for our Florida weather to change, and we were soon back to being sunny Sarasota once again.


  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., December 11 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Special City Commission
    Tues., December 11 - 5 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • Tree Advisory Committee
    Wed., December 12 - 3 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., December 12 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Wed., December 12 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
Featured Job of the Week 


This Week's Items to Know:

Lemon Ave. Streetscape Open House - Dec. 17    Plans are moving forward to begin improvements to the Lemon Avenue corridor in downtown in mid-May. And, the public is invited to learn about this exciting project that will infuse more walkability and create a cool gathering place in the center of our special downtown.
Join City staff and the Lemon Ave. Streetscape design team for an open house on Monday, December 17 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex.  Renderings will be on display and project managers will be available to answer questions.
Those unable to attend the open house may send comments to: 
With The Mark under construction at Lemon Ave. and State St., which will transform the west end of State St. into a pedestrian mall, the timing is right for the City to move forward with improvements to the surrounding area.
Lemon Ave. from Main Street to Pineapple Ave. will be included in the
streetscape improvements. 
The corridor, from the Lemon Ave. mall (near Salute! and Mattison's Grille) to Pineapple Ave. will be given a makeover that will be consistent with the City's vision to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown.  The curbs will be removed and brick pavers will be installed on Lemon Ave to continue the look/feel of the Lemon Ave. mall all the way to Pineapple Ave.  The public space adjacent to Paul Thorpe Jr. Park also will be activated by installing a performance area for live music and seating where downtown employees and families can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.  Click here to see the project concept. 
After consulting with downtown business owners and possible impacts to customer traffic, construction will be deferred until after Mother's Day when, traditionally, fewer visitors are in town. 
Urban Planning - Book Donation  Our special city includes a remarkable, eclectic mix of individuals with a variety of backgrounds from retired Fortune 500 CEOs to musicians to world renowned artists. The depth and breadth of professional talent and knowledge in Sarasota is impressive and thankfully many remain active community builders. 
Resident Dr. Roger Barry, an Emeritus Professor of Urban
With Drs. Phyllis and Roger Barry, DID Manager John Moran and Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch.  
Planning at the University of Cincinnati, and his partner Phyllis, are passionate about creating the best Sarasota we can --  and that includes making it a more vibrant, walkable and pedestrian-friendly city. 
To encourage a continued thoughtful approach to creating a walkable downtown, Dr. Barry generously donated 25 copies of the newly released book "Walkable City Rules:  100 Steps to Making Better Places" by Jeff Speck.  
After starting his urban design career with Andres Duany and DPZ & Co., the principal firm behind the New Urbanism movement, Speck has become one of America's visionary urban planners.  
This book is a useful guide to making cities more walkable, from investing in parks and attainable housing to incorporating bicycle transit into development plans.  There's a lot of thoughtful and cutting edge information to consider.  
  Included in the front of each book is this inscription:   
" Fifteen years ago we moved from a suburb of Cincinnati
to Sarasota because of its downtown and walkability.  That
and the promise of improving the connectivity to the Bay
and to downtown neighborhoods is what attracted us.  We
hope that this book will improve the understanding of
walkability and inspire city employees to make this part of
their work."

- Drs. Phyllis and Roger Barry  
The books will be distributed to our Planning, Transportation and Sustainability staff.
Thank you, Drs. Phyllis and Roger Barry, for this thoughtful and generous donation!    
U.S. 41 & 10th St. - WB Closure    The westbound portion of 10th Street at U.S. 41 is temporarily closed through Monday, Dec. 10 while crews complete utility connections for the FDOT roundabout construction at the intersection.
This weekend was selected for the closure to accommodate the Van Wezel's busy calendar.  It's the only weekend until May 2019 there will not be a performance at the Hall.  Our Executive Director, Mary Bensel, keeps the Hall booked and busy! 
The very popular Atomic Holiday Bazaar, an annual event which attracts shoppers from around the state, will be held Saturday and Sunday (noon to 5 p.m.) at the Municipal Auditorium.  Many attendees use the Van Wezel parking lot and vicinity for overflow parking.  Please note:  Atomic Holiday Bazaar traffic should plan to access parking via Boulevard of the Arts, since westbound 10th Street will be closed.   Electronic message boards and flaggers will be on site to direct traffic.   
Consider checking out the Atomic Holiday Bazaar this weekend.   
We appreciate everyone's patience with this two year road construction project to build roundabouts at 10th Street and 14th Street and improve the traffic flow along U.S. 41. 
Public Art - "Victory" mural   Well-known artist and Ringling College of Art & Design graduate Erik Jones is finishing up his work on "Victory," the second of two colorful murals on the new BOLD Lofts Sarasota. The work is being done as part of the developer's public art requirement for the apartment project being constructed at 1687 2nd St.  
Artist Erik Jones takes to the sky for a week-long mural project called "Victory."
You may recall that Jones completed his towering "David" mural on the opposite side of the building earlier this summer. "Victory" faces Fruitville Road, and we expect that it will serve as both a welcoming landmark for downtown visitors and yet another visual reminder of the City's commitment to and appreciation for the arts.
Mayors' Feed The Hungry - Donations Needed   Donations to the Mayors' Feed The Hungry program are down this year and the organization is asking for assistance this holiday season.  
The Mayors' Feed The Hungry program relies on donations from the public that allow them to provide $10 Publix gift cards to those in need. Last year, they gave away $100,000 worth for Thanksgiving and $60,000 for the holiday season in the Sarasota-Manatee area.  
This year the need is just as great and donations have been significantly lower.
Donations can be made online at 

On behalf of the City of Sarasota, Mayor Liz Alpert greatly appreciates everyone's generous donations this holiday season to help the less fortunate in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
SNN City Report:  Workforce Housing  The focus of this week's 'City Report' on SNN is the significant need for long-term affordable workforce housing in Sarasota.
Funded with help from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the City and County recently engaged the Florida Housing Coalition to create a workforce housing blueprint for our community.  Earlier this week, the City Commission accepted a 12-point action plan and assigned staff with the task of carrying it out.
Much more on this community issue and why workforce housing needs to be considered part of the City's infrastructure on 'City Report' tonight (12/7) at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.  Or catch up on previous episodes on demand at

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Lion King makes its premiere at the Van Wezel in March 2019 -- and tickets are now on sale!

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live  
Tues., December 11 - 7:30 p.m. 
A Christmas Carol 
Sun., December 16 - 6 p.m.
  A Christmas Carol will be at the Van Wezel Dec. 16.

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.
On Your Feet! 
Catch 'On Your Feet!' Dec. 26-30 at the Van Wezel.

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.
Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert 
Wed., January 2 - 7 p.m.
Jay Leno 
Thurs., January 3 - 8 p.m.
Something Rotten!
Mon., January 7 - 7:30 p.m.
Tues., January 8 - 7:30 p.m.
3 Redneck Tenors 
Wed., January 9 - 8 p.m.
Blue Suede - The Premier Elvis Birthday Bash 
Thurs., January 10 - 8 p.m.
Air Supply 
Sun., January 13 - 7 p.m.
The Righteous Brothers 
Tues., January 15 - 8 p.m.

Linda Eder 
Thurs., January 17 - 8 p.m. 
Pilobolus Shadowland:  The New Adventure 
Tues., January 22 - 7:30 p.m.
Howie Mandel 
Wed., January 23 - 8 p.m.

The Midtown Men 
Fri., January 25 - 8 p.m.
  Howie Mandel will perform at the Van Wezel Jan. 23.

Gladys Knight 
Sat., January 26 - 8 p.m.
Jerry Lee Lewis 
Sun., January 27 - 7 p.m.
Tony Orlando 
Mon., January 28 - 8 p.m.
Dick Fox's Golden Boys 
Tues., January 29 - 7:30 p.m.
Neil Berg's 110 Years of Broadway 
Wed., January 30 - 2 p.m. & 7:30 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

REMINDERS:  Crab & Fin Restaurant will present "Holiday Night of Lights" at St. Armands Circle tonight (12/7) from 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.  This is the official kickoff of the holiday season at St. Armands and will include a spectacular tree lighting, holiday caroling and a visit from jolly 'ol St. Nicholas.  Hope to see you there!

And, the Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is Saturday (12/8) -- starts at 6 p.m. on the Bayfront in downtown.  Bayfront Park and Marina Jack are excellent viewing areas for the family   
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