Neighborhood Services is committed to connecting residents to the resources they need for a thriving neighborhood.

Civics 101: A Citizen’s Academy

Logo for Sarasota County Civics 101 classes

Sarasota County employs more than 2,000 people. Do you know what they do? Sign up for our citizens' academy, Civics 101, to find out!

Ask questions — get answers.

Tour facilities. Test your skills. Learn about county programs and resources, and make connections to further your own vision in our community.

Civics 101 is offered in two modules, and modules can be taken in either order.

Classes are held on Thursday evenings from 6-8:20 p.m., at varying locations in the winter and summer.

There is no registration fee.

The 2019 Winter Session (Module I), running January through February, is full.

Please email neighbor@scgov.net if you would like to be contacted with the summer dates and application once they are available.

Additional information is available in the Documents Library below.

Neighborhood Challenge

A sustainable neighborhood is connected and engaged with their immediate neighbors and the community at-large, with the tools and confidence to improve their overall quality of life.

The Neighborhood Challenge is a competition encouraging neighbors to work together to make their neighborhoods sustainable, healthy, and involved. The Challenge recognizes existing improvements and aims to drive further progress in our community.

Neighborhoods complete scorecards (Green, Healthy, and Involved), each with a set of actions, educational efforts, and innovation opportunities. Extra credit is also awarded for sharing photos and progress on social media.

The 2018 Neighborhood Challenge submission period is now closed.

Additional information is available in the Documents Library below.

Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program

Sometimes a little change makes a big difference. When your neighborhood needs a small project, consider applying for a neighborhood grant.

Neighborhood Services offers grants to neighborhoods that are willing to match funding through cash, in-kind donations, professional labor or volunteer hours.

Rules

Residents and homeowners associations, or ad-hoc groups of neighbors who notice a need for improvement in one or more of the following areas may be eligible to apply:

  • Character: "place-making" through the creation or enhancement of assets that are a source of neighborhood pride and identity.
  • Leadership: training neighborhood leaders or teams, and developing skills, for neighborhood governance or action.
  • Safety: equipping the neighborhood with knowledge or tools to prevent, prepare for, confront or respond to incidences of crime, danger or disaster.
  • Environment: protecting water & energy resources, and native plants & animals.
  • Health: increasing access to nutritious diets, physical or mental fitness opportunities, or health education.

Schedule

Please contact Neighborhood Services at 941-861-5000 or email neighbor@scgov.net to learn the dates of future seminars or to register for a seminar.

Cycle Deadlines (Fall 2019, Cycle 32)

  • Attend an application seminar no later than April 30, 2019
  • Notify Neighborhood Services of Intent to Apply by 5 p.m. on July 1, 2019
  • Submit completed application by 5 p.m. on September 2, 2019
  • Applications will be reviewed by county staff in September
  • Applications will then be evaluated and scored by the Neighborhood Initiative Grant Advisory Committee on September 26, 2019 (tentative date)
  • Applications will be presented to the Sarasota County Commission for their approval on November 6, 2019 (tentative date)

All project-related work and expenses must occur after a grant application has been approved by the Sarasota County Commission.

Additional information is available in the Documents Library below.

CAM Credits

Sarasota County Neighborhood Services is an approved provider of Community Association Manager (CAM), Continuing Education Units (CEUs), through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (Provider PVD672). Although the courses offer continuing education credits for CAMs, they are open to HOA Board members and other interested individuals. Classes are taught by staff subject matter experts and there is no cost to attend.

Please contact Neighborhood Services at neighbor@scgov.net if you have a group of 15 or more and are interested in scheduling private instruction, or if you would like to be added to a group for a future session.

Currently Neighborhood Services is offering the following approved courses:

  • 9629351 Neighborhood-level Planning Strategies (1 CEU) 
  • 9629218 Neighborhood-level Landscaping Practices (1 CEU)
  • 9629364 Neighborhood-level Tree Care (1 CEU)
  • 9629217 Neighborhood-level Stormwater Management (1 CEU)
  • 9629298 Neighborhood-level Energy and Water Conservation
    (1 CEU)
  • 9629299 Neighborhood Initiative Grant Application Seminar
    (2 CEUs)

Neighborhood Online Directory

The Sarasota County government website and the Contact Center (at 941-861-5000) offer one-stop-shopping for residents wishing to reach out to county departments.

Question: How do those departments reach out to your neighborhood?
Answer: Neighborhood Online Directory (NOD)

NOD is a voluntary database of neighborhood contact information for Sarasota County neighborhoods. "Neighborhoods" may be any geographically-defined group of residents, and do not have to be incorporated associations.

By registering your neighborhood, you make it possible for county staff to contact an association president or other neighborhood leader to give notice regarding:

  1. Meetings.
  2. Plans.
  3. Projects.
  4. Proposed development items.
  5. Other hot topics in your area.

Once your neighborhood is registered*, your association will be mapped in our GIS (Geographic Information Systems) program and subscribed to the Neighborhood Services electronic newsletter, "Connect." Site-specific notifications may be delivered via postal service to the listed neighborhood address.

Exploring the NOD Map

  1. View the Map
  2. Look to the list of layers on the right side of the pop-up map window and select "Neighborhood Associations" (all registered associations will be highlighted on the map).
  3. Click on an area to view its registration information.
  4. To search for an association by name, click the magnifying glass icon in the top page banner; from the "Search Layer" drop-down menu, choose "Neighborhood Associations By Name" and select the neighborhood from the "Association Name" drop-down menu, or enter the name of the neighborhood into the search field.

*Please allow up to two weeks after registration for your association information to appear in the directory and on the map.

Additional Information

Neighborhood Plans

At the direction of the Sarasota County Commission, Neighborhood Services works with selected neighborhoods to develop individual Neighborhood Plans.

Elements of a Neighborhood Plan include:

  • Defining community character
  • Identifying areas of improvement
  • Determining community assets
  • Addressing areas of concern
  • Listing of priorities (with possible funding sources)

Neighborhood Plans are time and resource intensive, requiring significant commitment from both county staff and the neighborhood community.

County staff and residents work together to develop a vision for the neighborhood, identify issues and implement solutions. The neighborhood planning process empowers neighborhood communities to make the changes they wish to see in their neighborhoods, which makes Sarasota Country a better place to live, work and play.

Past Neighborhood Plans

  • Fruitville 210
  • Kensington Park
  • Laurel
  • North Sarasota
  • Old Miakka
  • Pinecraft (a privately-initiated plan was also created in 2014)

Association Assistance

If you are interested in creating a neighborhood association, or strengthening your current one, we’d like to be part of the process.

Neighborhood Services can offer guidance regarding best practices for neighborhood associations, navigating the local government and addressing circumstances unique to your neighborhood.

Documents