Extreme makeover: Park edition

Jane Hittler Park renovated, reopening

Jane Hittler
Submitted by the City of Marco Island

Photo by Submitted

Jane Hittler Submitted by the City of Marco Island

— As anticipated as the new TV comedy “Parks and Recreation” starring Amy Poehler beginning in April, Marco’s Jane Hittler Park, the remodeled edition, is about to be unveiled.

Battered by a barrage of hurricanes and neglected during ongoing road construction, Jane Hittler Park was once a sad testament to the concept of green space. No longer, though.

The park “sprung to life again” in February of 2008, the Marco Eagle reported. Now with all improvements completed at a cost of about $200,000, the rededication and ribbon cutting in homage to a person who made the Island beautiful, Jane Hittler, is set for Wednesday.

The City of Marco Island is hosting a rededication ceremony for ‘M. Jane Hittler Park’ opening 10 a.m., March 25. The ribbon cutting will be held at the M. Jane Hittler Park on Collier Boulevard adjacent to the Esplanade, overlooking Smokehouse Bay.

Participants should plan to park at the Esplanade or in the Winn Dixie parking lot and walk to the event.

The tentative schedule is as follows:

- Welcome and opening comments.

- Overview by Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk.

- Who was Jane Hittler? Besty Perdichizzi, a family friend.

- Family comments, Mary Lou Jankowski, daughter of Jane Hittler.

- Presentation of the “Journey’s End” art piece by Kent Ullberg.

- Butterfly release.

Participants will be asked to separate into two groups to open boxes of butterflies for release to officially rededicate the park.

Jane Hittler served for 20 years on the Collier County Beautification Committee. Through her efforts she was instrumental in funding five parks on Marco Island, creating medians and enhancing landscaping across the island. Her efforts were recognized with the “National Landscape Award” at the White House in 1988. She continued to transform the island paradise with the creation of Fisherman’s Park at this site.

Hittler was the founding president of the Marco Island Youth Center in 1973, created on land donated from Frank Mackle. Hittler became the first Chairwoman of the Marco Branch of the YMCA in 1977 and is known as the “Grandmother of the Y.”

Often regarded as the mother of Marco Island’s beautification efforts, Hittler was also called “The First Lady of Marco Island.”

She died in 2006 at the age of 91.

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