From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 13, 2018
While enjoying summer vacation, 11-year-old Ryan Passero discovered a pleasant shady spot under the Ringling Bridge to cast his fishing line earlier this week.  Ryan lives in Bradenton and decided to check out the fishing options in downtown Sarasota with his family.  Adjacent to the bridge is the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier, a popular locale that is free and open to the public.


  • General Employees' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Mon., July 16 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., July 16 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., July 18 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Tree Advisory Committee
    Wed., July 18 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop
    Wed., July 18 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112

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

Irrigation Technician I
Parks Service Worker - Part-time
Pension Plan Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
     Volunteer/Unpaid Intern    

This Week's Items to Know:

HUD Sec. Ben Carson Visit  Mayor Liz Alpert and I had the pleasure of helping welcome U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to the Sarasota Housing Authority Summer Reading Room on Thursday during his visit to promote books and reading with neighborhood children. 

We expressed how proud we are to have used our vital HUD resources - including Community Block Grant, HOME and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds - to benefit our neediest residents. We also took the opportunity to share our concerns and respectfully request his support for these and other programs in Washington, D.C.

Welcoming HUD Secretary Ben Carson to Sarasota.  
Income disparity and poverty are serious problems, both nationally and here in Sarasota, and establishing affordable housing continues to be a top priority of the Sarasota City Commission. Staff will be presenting a "white paper" report to the Commission this fall on affordable housing options, challenges and potential next steps for the City.

Carson was the special guest at a book giveaway hosted by the Sarasota Housing Authority and Sarasota Police Department for local children in public housing. The program, called Book Rich Environment, helps ensure children are reading at grade level and provides opportunities for success. The effort is supported locally by the Sarasota Community Foundation and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.
Secretary Carson handing out books to children in North Sarasota. 
Carson, a former neurosurgeon, ran for president in 2016. He was appointed as HUD secretary by President Donald Trump last year. Shortly after Carson was appointed, Sarasota Housing Authority Executive Director William Russell took a leave of absence and went to the nation's capital to help Secretary Carson transition into his new position.  
During his visit he applauded the Sarasota community for its efforts to work collaboratively to address issues of poverty, affordable housing and education for our youth.
Municipal Auditorium: Historical Preservation Investment    The Municipal Auditorium and Bayfront Community Center are looking spiffy as we finish up renovations and improvements thanks to a $500,000 historical preservation grant from the state. The City-owned building, opened in 1938 and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, has seen its share of wear and tear over the years and has suffered significant water intrusion and damage.

Repairs made to the community center as part of the project include new second-floor windows, doors, ADA-compliant entrances and steps, the reconstruction of four flat roofs and a restroom and kitchen makeover. Painting and restoration work was also done to the stucco and glass block at the front entrance and interior of the auditorium. This community gem was restored in its original 1940s Art Deco and Moderne style.

Renovations at the Bayfront Community Center include new doors and second-floor windows that were researched and specially built to replicate the building's original 1940s-era style.
The City of Sarasota provided $279,000 in matching funds for this project. Kudos to City staff who handled the grant application and funding and oversaw the work at our beautiful facility.

Over the decades, the auditorium and community center have hosted banquets, pageants, civic meetings, concerts, high school proms and more.  
This outstanding venue is available for rent at reasonable rates and can accommodate everything from weddings and parties to trade shows, art shows or fundraisers. Find out more by calling 941-954-4165 or visiting
Parks & Rec - Employment Opportunities   As the parks interlocal agreement with Sarasota County gets closer to terminating on October 1, the City is preparing to take on the additional responsibility of maintaining five busy and popular parks and recreation venues.  To handle this extra workload, our Parks & Rec Department will be filling a variety of positions from landscape professionals to lifeguards to recreational professionals.
14 full-time and 14 part-time employees will be brought onboard to help maintain these parks and provide a level of service that is expected in our community. 
The parks being returned to the City for operations and maintenance are:  
  • Arlington Park and Aquatic Facility
  • Centennial Park and Boat Ramp
  • Ken Thompson Park
  • Lawn Bowling Facility
  • Payne Park Tennis Center

We anticipate there will be an added $914,000 expense to the City to maintain these popular venues.  To cover these new structural cost obligations, a slight structural adjustment to the budget is proposed with a .0905 millage increase.  

The job openings will be posted soon to the City of Sarasota job opportunities page (and here in Weekly Briefs) and we encourage you to share this information with anyone who may be interested in working for our professional, diverse and dynamic organization.
Our Communications Intern Rebecca Slezak produced a brief video highlighting the need for qualified applicants:   
Job openings with the Parks & Rec Department
soon will be posted on


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

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

Reverend Barry & The Funk 
Friday, July 27:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m. 

Rebel Heart 
Friday, August 17:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m. 

Dr. Dave Band 
Friday, September 14:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Lord of the Dance will be at the Van Wezel on Oct. 14.
FREE Concert

Lord of the Dance 
Sun., October 14 - 7 p.m.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story 
Sat., October 27 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular 
Sat., November 10 - 7:30 p.m.

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

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker  
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 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