MARCO ISLAND — Another big step was taken to continue progress in the development of Marco Island’s Veterans’ Community Park on Elkcam Circle. The Veterans Community Park Master Plan Committee took a walking question-and-answer tour of the site Wednesday afternoon followed by a discussion of the three proposed plans at Mackle Park Wednesday evening.
Bryan Milk, parks and recreation director, led the on-site inspection along with consultants, including Bill Waddill of the Urban Resource Group and Martin Black of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. Milk, the consultants and 10 committee members walked the park site, which reaches from the Marco Community Church to Park Avenue while encompassing both sides of Elkcam Circle in its little over seven-acre composition.
“We are currently considering three different plans of development for the site,” Milk revealed.
“While we foresee it being primarily a testament to the veterans who fought in all wars for our country, we would like to design it for everybody’s use and enjoyment,” he added.
Milk said the park is currently in the “preliminary design phase” and hopes three designs will be complete in early January
The Elkcam Circle entrances to Veterans’ Community Park will be on Collier Boulevard and The Esplanade on one side and Bald Eagle on the other, due to the availability of street lights, Milk said.
“Those two entrances would be most desirable in order to have interaction with the park entry,” he added.
There have been many ideas exchanged between the park committee and the ad hoc committee as far as what the park will physically look like even though at the present time there is no budget set aside for this project, Milk said.
Among the ideas are the contemplation of closing Elkcam Circle for pedestrian use and expansion of usable land, or keeping it open for vehicle use.
“Three different design alternatives will be talked about concerning what’s important to the community. Some ideas about passive areas to the park along with areas where we need to recognize veterans and celebrate their accomplishments,” noted Black, the consultant.
“That will also include providing an ability to host Farmers Market along with Christmas Island Style activities so that the more people you get involved, the more people you have behind an idea such as this,” he added.
Kimley-Horn and Associates has assisted with many park developments, Black said.
“The area was originally known as the Glonn property which was bought a few years back by the City of Marco Island and it was envisioned at the time to put this parcel of land to some kind of public use and betterment,” said committee member Steve Stefanides, also Chairman of Christmas Island Style.
The committee will “somehow put that vision into reality,” Stefanides added.
“If there are going to be some structures on the site, it’s large enough to have a nice open area with perhaps a one-story building and the opportunity to have a taller building on the other side,” pointed out Waddill.
“It’s nice to see what you have to work with as a scale on site,” he added.
The community and committees will be selecting from the following plan options:
Master Plan Alternative 1 - The Piazza:
Park to be centered around a main piazza at corner of Elkcam Circle and Park Avenue adjoined by an amphitheater and performing arts center. Veterans courtyards are located alongside a canal while a main lawn area is situated behind the amphitheater together with an events structure. Adjacent to the lawn and bordering Park Avenue is a wide farmers market/events walk.
Master Plan Alternative 2 - In The Round:
Centrally located between Elkcam Circle and the canal is a circle lawn area abutted by a circular memorial area with an arbor backdrop. A cantilevered promenade will be featured along with an amphitheater and two sculptured areas located on the main lawn’s perimeter. The performing arts center is located off Park Ave. with two lawn areas adjacent along with the farmers market area.
Master Plan Alternative 3 - The Lake:
A man-made lake with a Veterans’ Island connected with three walkways is the central feature. Two large lawn areas flank the lake with a promenade and boardwalk along the canal. A farmers market and special events area is located in the main lawn area near the canal while an events arbor abuts the lake with a “stepped” amphitheater facing the main lawn. Facing Park Avenue and adjacent to the lake is a palm events court with a view of Veterans’ Island and a performing arts center.
The next scheduled meeting on the three master plans is 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at Mackle Park and will be open to the public. It is at that meeting when it is hoped one of the above three plans will be selected. Images of the three design plans are in a sidebar on this page.