Reflections on 2018: A Remarkable Year



As the sun sets on 2018, it is already clear it was a phenomenal year for Sarasota.

At the top of the wow list for 2018 was the public’s overwhelming support to finance the extension of the Legacy Trail bike path from Venice and Northport to downtown Sarasota. When completed, the expanded trail will soon become a major economic and quality of life improvement for the entire county.

As noteworthy, was the creation and adoption of a new master plan for the Sarasota Bayfront. Phase 1 of the project will begin to transform the largest parking lot in the city, into a beautiful blue-green oasis with something special for everyone.

And finally, in the top three achievements for 2018 was the City, County and Gulf Coast Community Foundations joint effort to prepare an Affordable Housing Action Plan to bring more permanent, affordable housing into reality.

There were many other very positive achievements in our communities in 2018 but the three I’ve highlighted are noteworthy because they all required trust and cooperation across geographical, political and economic lines. As importantly, they will strengthen the fabric of our entire community.

We will have other complex challenges to deal with in the year ahead, like red tide and homelessness, but if we have re-learned one thing from 2018, it is when people of good will work together to tackle challenges, virtually any problem or opportunity can be addressed effectively.

As we prepare for a new year, I’m confident Sarasotans will continue to aspire for an even brighter future for all. The achievements of 2018 provide a great lesson for 2019 and beyond.

On behalf of Mayor Liz Alpert, Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, and Commissioners Willie Charles Shaw, Shelli Freeland Eddie and Hagen Brody, we thank everyone involved in making 2018 the bold and incredible year it has been. We wish all Sarasotans safe travels.

Please feel free to email me at

Tom Barwin is Sarasota City Manager.

Rendering: The Bay.

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