From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
October 20, 2017
Kelli Karen with the Patterson Foundation donned a blue wig and waved a sign at cars passing by on U.S. 41 to promote the very first Age-Friendly Festival coming up on Sat., October 28 at the Sarasota Fairgrounds.  Sponsored by the Patterson Foundation, this important community event aims to promote age-friendly practices and connect people of all ages. The City is excited to be one of the 100+ organizations participating.  City staff will be on hand with a variety of interactive activities -- from golf to a recycling game to demonstrating how to use a new parking app --- and showing how age-friendly components are incorporated into the City and help improve the quality of life in Sarasota.


  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., October 25 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Trespass Hearings
    Thurs ., October 26 - 3:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media
  • Police Officers' Pension Plan Board of Trustees - Special Meeting
    Fri., October 27 - 10 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Chief Transportation Planner
Director of Utilities
Janitorial/Maintenance - Van Wezel
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)  
Recreation Specialist   
Senior Pension Accountant
    Volunteer/Unpaid Intern     

This Week's Items to Know:

The Mark - State Street Closure: Oct. 21   When State Street, between Lemon Ave. and Pineapple Ave., closes for the Farmers Market tomorrow (Sat., October 21), it will remain closed to vehicles permanently.  11 years ago, that portion of State Street was vacated by the City Commission as part of a development agreement.     
Artist's rendering of The Mark. 
At the time, the development was known as City Place at Pineapple Square.  Now it's The Mark.  A signature aspect of The Mark will be the transformation of State Street between Lemon and Pineapple into a pedestrian mall with an arcade over the street.
The development is a mixed-use plan with restaurant, retail and office space in addition to 157 condos and townhomes in the heart of our vibrant, walkable downtown.  Construction is expected to be finished in 2 years.
For this $50 million project to come out of the ground after so many years, including the Great Recession, highlights the continued interest in investing and living in our special city.     
Storm Debris - Commercial Properties  As the City's contractor finishes the first pass throughout neighborhoods collecting debris
Commercial property owners are responsible
for storm debris pickup. 
from Hurricane Irma, commercial entities are being reminded that debris removal is the responsibility of the commercial property owner.
FEMA has approved federal reimbursement only for residential properties.       
Commercial property owners are encouraged to consult their property insurance policy for debris removal coverage or contact the FEMA Small Business Program:    202-288-4657.   

Fredd Atkins Park - Closed 10/23-27  Fredd Atkins Park will be temporarily closed next week, October 23-27, weather permitting, as the much anticipated redesign of the park begins.
After extensive and thoughtful community input, the area located at
Renovation of Fredd Atkins Park will begin Oct. 23. 
U.S. 301 and Dr. MLK, Jr. Way, will be transformed into an open park setting.  The gazebo will be replaced with sod and seating areas will be created to invite users to rest and enjoy their stay and perhaps play a table game, like dominoes, checkers or chess.   
For this historic, predominantly African American community, this park renovation is an important part of restoring the MLK corridor to what it once was:  a vibrant destination to shop, eat and relax. The corridor, between U.S. 301 and U.S. 41, is undergoing a rejuvenation attracting significant business investments, including a state of the art sound stage, Ringling College library, SMH Health Center and Miss Susie's Lunchroom, a restaurant that graced the corridor back in the day and will reopen soon with a focus on good food and diversity in the restaurant industry.
When Fredd Atkins Park reopens Sat., October 28 it will offer a preview of a renewed gateway to Sarasota.       

Community Canopy Project - FREE Trees  Once again, the City of Sarasota in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is offering 100 trees to residents at no cost through the Community Canopy Project. The program helps expand the tree canopies of cities across the country, which ultimately improves air and water quality and lowers residents' utility bills.  
Starting this Monday, October 23, residents can reserve a free tree by visiting The site provides an online-mapping tool that offers a look at your specific property to find the best location for each tree and calculate the estimated annual energy savings.  
When the City first offered this program last Arbor Day, it was so popular all the trees were spoken for in a week and a half.     
Residents can choose from four Florida native trees: sweetbay magnolia, red maple, bald cypress, or shumard oak.   Each household can reserve up to one tree, which will be delivered to your doorstep. 
You may be wondering how this program is funded. Each time a tree permit is pulled, a portion of the permit fee goes into a tree replacement fund, which ultimately pays for the trees provided through this program.  It's a great way to grow our City's beautiful canopy and shrink your monthly energy bill! 
Job Fair - Nov. 9   For those on the job hunt, the City will host a large Job Fair at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex on Thurs., November 9 from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. 
The City will host a Job Fair in partnership with Keiser University and CareerSource Suncoast
on Nov. 9. 
Last year, this event attracted over 50 employers and we're expecting similar interest this year.
Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally, bring a resume and be prepared for immediate on-site interviews.
Also, please consider bringing a non-perishable food item which will be donated to the Mayor's Feed the Hungry Program.
Good luck to those seeking new opportunities!   
Giving Hunger the Blues - Oct. 28   Over a dozen local and national jazz and blues bands will perform on two stages on the lawn of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Sat., October 28 for the 21st Annual Giving Hunger the Blues & Jazz on the Bay.
Proceeds from this all-day event (11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.) go to the Mayors Feed The Hungry Program which helps provide thousands of meals to those in need in Sarasota and Manatee counties. While the organization provided 14,000 meals last year (with over half going to children and the elderly) they tell us over 40,000 requests were left unfilled.
General admission tickets for Giving Hunger the Blues are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate.  To purchase tickets and learn more about this incredible community event visit   
The festival will go on rain or shine.  
FL Association of City Clerks - Social Media Presentation   When it comes to government and social media, the City of Sarasota has been a leader, launching a social media program in 2009 with Twitter.  With the continued growth of social media, many municipalities are beginning to learn how to use these various platforms -- from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram -- to communicate effectively with residents.    
Our Senior Communications Manager, Jan Thornburg, who launched
No social media course is complete without a class selfie!
the City's Twitter page and now oversees five social media pages with a  total of 47,000+ followers, was invited to present to the Florida Association of City Clerks this week on social media strategies.   
During the 4-hour class, Jan and three other government digital media gurus presented success stories and best practices and strategies to 75-100 clerks. Jan shared the City's recent experience with Hurricane Irma and how the extensive use of social media helped inform residents about the City's emergency plan, staff's preparedness, utilities issues, behind the scenes activity, and even some lighthearted moments, which help government and residents connect.   
Bravo, Jan!  It's a feather in the City's cap to be recognized as a successful trailblazer in this continually expanding field.     

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through Dec. 2017.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 

Chicago Live in Concert 
Mon., October 30 - 8 p.m.
So You Think You Can Dance 
Fri., November 3 - 8 p.m. 
Doo Wop Spectacular
Sat., November 4 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder Symphony 2017
Wed., November 15 - 7:30 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 16 - 8 p.m.
Straight No Chaser will perform
Nov. 16. 

Decades Rewind 
Fri., November 17  - 8 p.m. 
Three Dog Night 
Sat., November 18 - 8 p.m. 
Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour 
Tues., November 28 - 8 p.m.

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story 
Fri., December 1 - 8 p.m.
Tues., December 5 - 8 p.m.
An Irish Tenors Christmas 
Sat., December 2 - 8 p.m.
Leann Rimes - Today is Christmas Tour 
Sun., December 3 - 7 p.m.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze will be at the Van Wezel on Dec. 21. 

98 Degrees Christmas
Mon., December 11 - 8 p.m.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage
Sun., December 17 - 2:30 p.m.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Thurs., December 21 - 7 p.m.

A Christmas Carol
Fri., December 22 - 7 p.m.

Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker
Fri., Dec. 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 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