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MARCO ISLAND — Meeting for nearly the 20th time in the last year, Islanders saw designs of the future Veterans’ Community Park Wednesday that begin to give a clear vision of what the park will look like.
The park is estimated to cost $12 to $15 million without the 20,000-square foot community arts center. The arts center will likely cost another $10 million and be built in a later phase, said consultant Bill Waddell, adding that phasing and pricing are not set in stone.
About 30 residents attended the meeting held at the community room Wednesday evening.
Plans are likely to go before City Council sometime in May, said Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk.
Topics most discussed Wednesday included bicycling in the park, the re-routing of Elkcam Circle to Park Avenue and the architectural design.
Bike racks would eliminate the need for several parking spaces, said Al Musico.
“It might be the prettiest place to bike on the Island,” said Scott Shook about the meandering of paths through the park.
City project engineer Jim Miller shared ideas from the audience including a concern about closing Elkcam Circle and the cost of moving utilities. Miller suggested a traffic study.
Dave Gardner, a volunteer firemen, said the increased safety of keeping traffic away from the park would be worth the wait at the light near Park Avenue once Elkcam is rerouted.
Architectural design will likely be a Mediterranean style with a modern flare, similar to the Esplanade, bringing cohesion to the Town Center, which is in the process of redevelopment.
Getting the designs in order is important for leverage to obtain grants, Waddell said. As for funding the $10 million community arts center, Waddell said: “Typically those types of theaters are funded privately with foundations and such.”
Bud LaBruyere, who lives next door to the park, said he liked the current plans.
“Is there going to be a county fair there now or is it going to be a quaint little park like I thought it was supposed to be?” he asked.
Milk said he envisioned a quaint park with the ability to host Island events, not likely drawing crowds county-wide.
“I hope you don’t make a Woodstock out of it,” LaBruyere said.