The Veterans’ Community Park committee met Wednesday evening to decide between two plans for the approximate 7-acre site on Elkcam Circle West.
Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk said the park will likely cost $12 million to $15 million, according to the current plans designed by the public, park committee and Kimley-Horn and Associates’ consultants.
The park will likely be funded in phases for capital improvements approved by City Council or a voters’ referendum for up to $15 million for Veterans’ Park, $12 million for Mackle Park and $12 million for Smokehouse Bay improvement plans.
Members of the Marco Island VFW said they will be raising the money for the 25,000 square-foot memorial aspect of the park, which could cost about $125,000.
“When the city comes together and says ‘we will fund the park,’ then we’ll fund our part,” said Dave Gardner, VFW Post 6370 commander and park committee member, regarding the veterans’ memorial.
Park committee member Lee Rubenstein, also of the VFW, said veterans are ready to pay once the design plan is complete.
“A lot of veterans want to give, but they want to see it first,” he said.
The most significant changes made at Wednesday evening’s committee meeting, from the previous meeting, Feb. 18, was to move the amphitheater further north away from the water’s edge.
The orientation of the building to the sun is important to prevent audiences from being blinded by the light during performances, said design consultant Bill Wadell.
The amphitheater is also expected to change names to a bandshell, to better reflect its anticipated use, which committee members said would resemble Cambier Park’s bandshell in Naples.
“Parking is a huge concern among staff,” Milk said.
There are about 300 parking spaces planned near or at the park, including 160 on-street spaces.
Committee member Claudia Klug-Kowel suggested “rolling out a hard surface dance floor” near the bandshell, which includes 1.3 acres to accommodate up to 5,000 people.
Plans are still being hashed out and will likely go before City Council at a workshop tentatively scheduled 3 p.m., May 18.
Until that time, committee chairman Monte Lazarus said he hopes to continue hearing more community input.
The next public meeting on Veterans’ Community Park planning is scheduled 6 p.m., April 15, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.