Thursday, November 30, 2006

Report on the Citizen Academy

An attendee of the recent City of Sarasota Citizens' Academy had an excellent experience. This program has been run twice and received rave reviews both times. We would urge everyone to consider participating in this progream to see how the city works and meet many of our great city employees. Getting involved is the best way to make sure Sarasota is the city we all want it to be.

With twenty four other people, I have recently completed the study of Sarsota city government at the Citizens' Academy sponsored by the Neighborhood Partnership Office of our city. It was a marvelous experience to learn of the various areas of supervision and how they work.

I have wondered what was to happen and when in Payne Park; now I know, and I've wondered about all the people at City Hall and exactly what they do in the capacities they serve. They really care. We learned of the huge number of services provided by the city available to people who are in a quandary because of problems that overwhelm.

Public Works and Engineering offered incite into the basic physical structure of Sarasota, as well as the great number of services it affords. At the Police Academy we observed in action the equipment available to maintain a safe community eg.a robotic capable of disarming threatening devices. The Planning and Redevelopment Board was an eye opener.

Now I understand why the sign for the Publix sign"opening soon" on 41 has been there for five or six years. The process to achieve a new structure is mind boggling.

Finally, we visited the Van Wezel and the complexity of that "jewel" is amazing physically and culturally. The programs it promotes for Sarasota's children are simply outstanding.

Over and above all else, it was wonderful to see the pride and dedication for our city evidenced by every single person we met.

What an opportunity this was! The next class of the Citizens' Academy will be in February. Try to be a part of it.

Patricia Barkhuff

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