Marco City Council asked to approve bike path bid at its Jan. 9 meeting

Winners of the Safe Routes to School bike/walk raffle standing with their new bikes are, from left, Zulema Santana, Theodore Baran, Francisco Roldan and Alexandra Santana. With them is Dr. Jory Westberry, principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary School and George Abounader, principal of Marco Island Charter Middle School. See related story, 12A. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Winners of the Safe Routes to School bike/walk raffle standing with their new bikes are, from left, Zulema Santana, Theodore Baran, Francisco Roldan and Alexandra Santana. With them is Dr. Jory Westberry, principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary School and George Abounader, principal of Marco Island Charter Middle School. See related story, 12A. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Al Musico, chairman of the Bike Path Ad-hoc Committee, points out for Victor Ordija at Friday's meeting a proposed off-road bike path from Mackle Park to Winterberry Drive's ballpark. Ordija was named vice chairman of the committee at the meeting. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Al Musico, chairman of the Bike Path Ad-hoc Committee, points out for Victor Ordija at Friday's meeting a proposed off-road bike path from Mackle Park to Winterberry Drive's ballpark. Ordija was named vice chairman of the committee at the meeting. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— Marco Island’s first bike or walk to school raffle was so successful, the Bike Path Ad-Hoc Committee plans to do it again next year. By then, Phase 1 of the Safe Routes to School project should be completed, making it easier for students to get to school on their own.

The committee discussed the project’s timeline and the bike raffle at its Friday meeting.

Construction to add 8-foot sidewalks on Cushing Lane and around the perimeters of Tommie Barfield Elementary and Marco Island Charter Middle schools should be completed by May 2012. In early planning, city engineers estimated the cost of Phase 1 at $347,000.

Sealed bids were received by the city until Dec. 8. Marquee Development was apparent low bidder on the project at $319,000. The bid did not include design engineering and surveying done by the city. The ad-hoc committee raised $227,840 through a grant from Florida’s DOT Safe Routes to School. FDOT’s grant is funded by a federal program. The rest will come from city funds.

The bid will go to Marco Island City Council on Jan. 9 for approval. If awarded, the project should start in late January or early February. Before work begins, city staff and members of the bike path committee plan to discuss construction impacts with school administrators. Before bidding the project, Marquee Development was made aware of school drop-off and pick-up times. The company was asked to curtail activities that would impede access to schools during those times, said Jim Miller, city project engineer.

The bike raffle, held the week of Nov. 14, aimed at rewarding students who used alternate transportation to school other than motorized vehicles.

“More than 150 kids per day on average either walked or rode their bikes to school and picked up raffle tickets,” said Al Musico, chairman of the committee.

The tickets were given out Monday through Thursday. On Friday, Nov. 18, four winning tickets were drawn. Two bicycles were awarded to winners at Marco Island Charter Middle School and two at Tommie Barfield Elementary.

Winners were Zulema Santana, 2nd grade; Alexandra Santana, 4th grade; Francisco Roldan, 6th grade; and Theodore Baran, 7th grade. All winners received new bikes donated by the Marco Island Police Foundation, Bill Miller of Miller and Cook Associates, Keith Dameron of Iberia Bank and Al Schettino of the Marco Island Police Department.

“The kids were ecstatic when they learned they were getting new bikes,” Musico said. “The raffle was a good way to get kids walking or riding to school.”

Bicycles were supplied at cost by Matt Walthour of the Island Bike Shop and fitted to each student’s specifications. In addition to the bicycles, a number of students received helmets, bike lights, locks and backpacks.

“I learned about the raffle on Monday (Nov. 14), so I only had three tickets,” said winner Francisco Roldan. “I had a bike on my Christmas list, but now I’ve got it; so I’m asking for a Playstation 3, Xbox 360 or an iPad.”

Miller suggested that next year’s raffle be scheduled around Walk to School Day, Oct. 3. Committee members said they would consider it.

The committee voted on its 2012 meeting schedule continuing monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month. The next meeting of the Bike Path Ad-hoc Committee is scheduled for 9 a.m., Jan. 13, in City Hall’s 1st floor conference room.

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