MARCO ISLAND — Life really is a beach on Marco Island. That’s why many residents are already weighing-in on the pros and cons of the project proposed by Collier County for Tigertail Beach. The county needs City Council’s approval for two variances to allow a bathroom under the flood plain and a dune walkover that will allow access over a lagoon, which formed in the past several years between Tigertail Beach and the Gulf of Mexico.
Council will consider the project Tuesday evening.
“In general, I am in favor of the improvements to Tigertail Beach, but my concern lies with the deteriorating water conditions of the lagoon,” said Bob Casadei, who lives in South Seas Northwest Tower 4, about 300 feet away from the proposed project.
City Planner Kris Van Lengen has shared details of the project with Tigertail’s nearby residents over the past several weeks and while many support the project overall, many also have similar concerns as Casadei regarding the lagoon, Van Lengen reported in correspondence with council.
Casadei said the concern for the water quality in the lagoon remains his primary concern as of Friday morning.
When he bought his condo in 1998, the lagoon didn’t exist.
“ ... The water was free flowing between the beach and Sand Dollar Island,” he said.
Casadei added that a beach renourishment project appeared to be the cause of creating a now unpleasant lagoon at the beach.
“Now it is landlocked, stagnant, mushy and it stinks.”
Collier County Coast Zone Management’s project manager Clint Perryman has said there are often complaints, particularly from people who are disabled or physically unable to traverse the lagoon, that the public access to Tigertail is diminished.
“The main objective of this project is to provide the public the most direct path possible to access the Gulf of Mexico shoreline,” Perryman reported in a memo to city leaders on the issue.
Casadei, however, asked whether it would make more sense to improve the water quality before constructing a walkway over the lagoon.
City Environmental Specialist Nancy Richie reported no environmental concerns in the area regarding the proposed project.
Some nearby residents have expressed greater disdain for the proposal to build more restrooms at Tigertail. Currently, restrooms exist near the entrance. The proposal is to add another restroom facility at the southern end of the parking lot for convenience. Others residents, including Gary and Judy Blood, support the more conveniently-located restrooms because the new facilities may prevent someone from using something other than a designated bathroom.
This is not a project with a cost anticipated for the city and the estimated cost to the county for the project couldn’t immediately be obtained.
Due to Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, City Hall is closed. So, the council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday instead. Council is to begin with a special-called workshop at 3 p.m. and the regular business meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m., with a staff available in the Community Room for questions on the agenda beginning 5 p.m., City Manager Steve Thompson reported.
Beginning at 3 p.m., council will discuss their direction for a proposed ordinance supported by the waterways committee and planning board to establish more specific criteria for when a seawall must be replaced, as well as to allow building a seawall in front of an existing seawall.
Council will also discuss a quarterly budget report prepared by city Finance Director Patricia Bliss.
On the evening business agenda the following will also be considered:
n Mackle Park Phase 3B is the last part of improvements approved by council earlier in January. Total cost for both projects is $430,000 and if council approves both, it will allow a matching grant up to $200,000 from the Florida Recreation Development Assistant Program, making the total cost to the city about $230,000. This phase includes new irrigation, 10 new benches, concrete pads and landscaping along the lake pathway, as well as irrigation and new Bermuda turf on one-third of the existing soccer field.
n Financial support of about $39,000 as requested by Marco VFW Post 6370 Commander Dave Gardner for Kimley Horn and Associates to design the memorial at Veterans’ Community Park.
n A linear park trail, which was defeated by council in a 3-3 voter earlier in January. The Florida Department of Transportation has $210,000 in grant funds available for the construction of a shared use path from San Marco Road to Mackle Park. The total project is to cost $375,000 and after receiving grants will cost the city $165,000. Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala and Councilman Bill Trotter worked to get the project a top priority with the Collier County Metropolitan Organization, of which they both serve on the board, to get the grants.