Dear parents: The Optimist Club of Marco Island would like to provide you with some information on the proposed Community Center that has recently been in the news.
When the Mackle Park Community Center opened in the 1980s the Island had 6,000 residents and the park had a limited number of programs. Since that time our Island has grown to more than 12,000 residents, with more families, residents and visitors using the community center now than ever before. As the existing Mackle Park Community Center continues to age and maintenance costs continue to rise, more and more events compete for the limited space the building and airnasium have to offer.
The proposed Community Center has the potential to meet today’s needs and the future needs of our community. The proposed community center will provide meeting rooms (today we only have one available), a learning kitchen, multi-purpose rooms, an expanded teen center and a new gymnasium with indoor running track. While no design or square footages have been decided on the need for this new facility has been established.
Using an approach called a “Public/Private Partnership” (3P) the center can be built and financed by the building contractor and leased back to the city over a set number of years. This lease will be much like a home mortgage and the city will make monthly/quarterly payments during the lease period.
The details of the project as it stands now are for a facility with approximately 38,000 square feet, which includes the gymnasium. While the cost of the project is expected to be just over $6 million the cost per square foot is cheaper than today’s building costs for many of the homes on Marco, with the gym portion being around $160 sq. ft. and the building being $130 sq. ft. The funds for this project are currently available in city accounts but the 3P approach allows the city to budget this over a long term and retain funds for other items. No new taxes would need to be created or existing taxes raised to build the facility. While existing park staff will be used for this facility some additional staffing will be needed.
While we know that several organizations don’t want this facility to be built and others are concerned the city is going to be competition for programs they currently offer, we ask you to please help us and the community by supporting this project at city meetings. You can also help by informing those who do not want this project to be built that this new facility will not just be for kids but for the entire Marco Island community.
We the board of directors of the Marco Island Optimist Club fully support this project knowing that it would greatly enhance our community for both the young and the young at heart.
Board of Directors
Optimist Club of Marco Island