Council workshop: City considers building expansion at Marco Island's Mackle Park

Cheryl Ferrara Special to the Eagle
A father and kids from Dartmouth, Mass., enjoy a pick-up game of basketball on Tuesday at Mackle Park. The family said they come to the park each day while on Marco Island because they enjoy the open-air facility, an option not available to them at home.

Cheryl Ferrara Special to the Eagle A father and kids from Dartmouth, Mass., enjoy a pick-up game of basketball on Tuesday at Mackle Park. The family said they come to the park each day while on Marco Island because they enjoy the open-air facility, an option not available to them at home.

Cheryl Ferrara Special to the Eagle
At Marco Island's City Council Workshop, Gordon Glover of Mills Gilbane Building Company and Terri DiSciullo, president of the Island Parks and Recreation Foundation, present their vision and commitment to a new community center at Mackle Park.

Cheryl Ferrara Special to the Eagle At Marco Island's City Council Workshop, Gordon Glover of Mills Gilbane Building Company and Terri DiSciullo, president of the Island Parks and Recreation Foundation, present their vision and commitment to a new community center at Mackle Park.

Cheryl Ferrara Special to the Eagle
Kids Cove, a recent improvement to Mackle Park, would remain in place even if the city constructs a new community center.

Cheryl Ferrara Special to the Eagle Kids Cove, a recent improvement to Mackle Park, would remain in place even if the city constructs a new community center.

— The city’s recreation hub could be getting a new centerpiece. On Tuesday, Marco Island City Council considered improving Mackle Park by adding a nearly 40,000-square-foot community center with a $6 million price tag. That decision came during its afternoon workshop where council endorsed by consensus a review for funding the project.

Bryan Milk, director of Parks and Recreation, unveiled an architectural rendering to replace the park’s current 8,000-square foot community building. The new facility would be a 2-story center, nearly five times larger, and would be built where the existing structure stands.

The new floor plan would include a 13,500-square-foot enclosed gymnasium, indoor track, technology room and specialty/teaching kitchen. Its multi-purpose space could be used or leased for banquets, wedding receptions, community programs and adult education.

Conceptually, a new community center was part of Mackle Park’s Master Plan presented to city council in 2005. In that plan, necessary and esthetic improvements to the park’s buildings and grounds were scheduled to take place over several phases and a number of years. To date, the city has spent $2 million on overall improvements.

Of the $2 million spent on park improvements, $30,000 was invested in necessary upgrades to the existing building. Yet the 25-year-old facility failed to meet FEMA flood standards, building codes and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements, said Milk.

By constructing an entirely new facility, those failures would go away, he said.

City councilors reviewed a public-private partnership proposal by Mills Gilbane Building Company. The company would design and construct the new center with a lease-back option to the city of $600,000 per year for 12-years.

At the end of the 12 years, the city would take over ownership of the center at no additional cost.

If funding for the project came directly from additional taxes, Milk said, cost on an assessed $500,000 home would be approximately $38. Without additional taxes, re-appropriating existing funds or obtaining gifts and grants would be necessary.

Terri DiSciullo, president of the Island Parks and Recreation Foundation, said her group had raised more than $20,000 to sponsor the specialty/teaching kitchen. The group also approached the Rachael Ray Foundation for a grant to supply kitchen equipment such as pots and pans.

A public-private partnership would jumpstart the community center project, said Gordon Glover of Mills Gilbane Building Company. Benefits from the private entity would include one scope for the work and a single point of responsibility. The development partner would be “on the hook” to make sure the project came to fruition. No bonds would need to be issued, and construction could be tailored to the city’s needs, he said.

Milk explained that moving on the project aggressively would allow council to take advantage of lower construction costs and interest rates. He also saw the new community center as a way to address lack of space for programs in the existing building.

“Construction costs are at an all-time low of $160 per square foot compared to $250 per square foot in years past,” Milk said.

The 2005 Master Plan estimated the project at $11 million, nearly double the $6 million requested. Cost reductions came from lower construction costs and falling interest rates. The city’s finance department calculated an effective interest rate of 2.925 percent for the project.

Council generally liked the plan but said it needed more time to investigate public referendum, legal ramifications of the contracting process, funding options and post construction costs.

Re-appropriation of $600,000 out of the general fund for 12 years would require a referendum, said Councilor Bill Trotter. At issue, he said, was the project’s multi-year commitment that may require referendum.

“It’s disingenuous that we spend gazillions on other projects without referendum, and it’s curious we want this one to go to referendum,” said Chairman Frank Recker. “This is good for everyone.”

Trotter said he believed that regardless of requirement, a referendum would give council a better idea of public sentiment.

“If the need is there, why not go for a referendum?” he asked. “Let the citizens decide. Or perhaps Veteran’s (Community) Park is a higher priority in the public’s opinion.”

Additionally, council worried about entering into a contract with Mills Gilbane Building Company without putting the project out for bid.

Councilor Chuck Kiester asked Milk if he had a business plan including costs incurred post construction such as maintenance and staffing.

Milk conceded that additional staffing would be required but suggested that enterprise funds could be raised through programming and new activities in the center. As examples, he said, the racquet center is in the black by $6,000 this year, and the Farmers’ Market brought in $75,000 yearly in revenues for the city.

Public comments cautioned council to tread carefully when considering more debt.

“We’re sitting in a precarious situation financially and we can’t afford a project like this at this time,” said Bob Brown of West Joy Circle. “People are having a difficult time meeting their financial obligations so it (the community center) will be hard for people to swallow.”

Brown said residents face impact fees and impending expenses from the Septic Tank Replacement Program and replacement of failing seawalls. The city, Brown said, is facing necessary infrastructure repairs, over $250 million in bond debt and a police pension fund that is $4 million underfunded.

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Comments » 33

Aviaconsul writes:

Invite Gaddafi to come and live here then it will not cost anything. He might even give us money to buy exhibits for our empty museum!

OldMarcoMan writes:

Where do they get the money to do all this STUFF???? Lower Taxes thats what Marco really needs !!!

MarcoCitizen writes:

If the Parks manager hasn't enough work to do but dream up unnecessary spending projects to put us further into debt then let's find him new useful work or get someone else. Enough of these dreamed up projects from bored senior staff. Can't you dream up ways of saving us some money Milk?

Jojo writes:

Wake up Citizens of Marco
How blind do they think we are! It interesting that all of a sudden we need a community center with a technology room, a gymnasium, a kitchen for cooking classes, indoor track. Have you lost your mind. This is not for Marco Island, but for the High School. Open up your eyes , we are not s----- , we know when we are being scammed. We need this facility like we need a hole in the head. Not only do we not need a community center, we do not need to pay for Jane Watts School facilities, which is exactly why this community center is being proposed. She was at your workshop, what does that tell you. We don’t want to pay more taxes. Remember, she said a high school would not raises taxes, well think again, she has found a way to make all of us pay for her school. You need to listen to the citizens and hear us loud and clear. NO COMMUNITY CENTER, NO SCHOOL. Stop trying to circumvent the wishes of the Marco Citizens.

ajm3s writes:

Fiscal Insanity! Marco Island council and city management needs an intervention from the citizens that understand what it means to end spending. I guess when your addicted to spending, no matter what you say the addict, is in denial.

Leaseback? Winner, Gilbane not the city for a building with specifications that resemble a school. Now who is paying for this, what you say there is no increase in taxes for a charter school. Really?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No way. Does this city understand fiduciary responsibility?

The web they weave is quite a trap.

MarcoCitizen writes:

Putting this unwanted and unneeded waste out for a bid is absurd and any City manager promoting this profligate spending (Jim and Brian) need a talking to or replacement. City council - who do you work for?

MarcoJimbo writes:

Last year it was $20 Million for Veteran's Park, now it's another $6 Million for Mackle Park. Me thinks its time for Brian Milk to join Rony Joel in the unemployment line. Paging Dr. Riviere...

lauralbi1 writes:

40,000 square feet. Big enough for a Charter High School to use during the day ???
Has anybody asked about this ??
Ed Issler

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

When I first heard about this proposed 40,000 square foot building 2 weeks ago, the first thing I thought of was... Nice School!
It's nice to see others think the same way.

26yearsonmarco writes:

You are ALL WRONG about this proposed building becoming a Charter School to educate our Children here on Marco Island.
The Truth is: It’s going to be a place our Young, Poor and Uneducated Eagles and Tortoises who will be housed in luxury surroundings, instead of trees and holes in the ground, and be taught the True American Values that our Children will be learning while suffering in Trailer Camp.
After all, who, on Marco Island, cares about the future of Children, over the comfort of our “Wild Life”.
And, if it is true that our Marco Island employees are standing up and looking out for our Children, when our highly paid Superintendent of Schools is not, then I will stand with them.
All anyone with a degree of intelligence has to do to learn about the problems with our Public School system, is turn on the TV, and watch the news from Madison, Wisconsin.
As for the rest of you, enjoy your “Two for One Happy Hours”.

MarcoJimbo writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

marco97 writes:

I live on the park and since Milk took over the park has went down hill, the ducks are gone, the cat tail plants on both ends of the park have been removed which the baby ducks used for cover, 2 weeks ago they cut down many trees on the south end and put in a two lane hi-way.
Milk is not qualified to run a park, I have only seen him a couple of times south of the basket ball court and I remember when Dana was here I saw him walking around the park all the time.
Does anyone know what the large pipe does the was installed that runs from the RO plant into the lake?

dc5799 writes:

The guy with the do nothing job picking up papers on the grass in the am does more than Brian.The only thing Brian can do is buy trees and murder ducks.

fastboat writes:

I know I heard someone say this would happen just before Marco became a city.Isaid their was no way those that whated to be a city could scew things up that bad.WOW was I wrong

MarcoJimbo writes:

Wow. I got censored, guess there's a first time for everything. Apparently Klab's alter ego is more thin-skinned than I thought. OBTW: Sorry I offended you, if that helps.

dwbadger writes:

Maybe the luster has finally worn off the City Manager and his true stripes are showing. Any person on the coincul that approves this should be recalled.

RayPray writes:

in response to dwbadger:

Maybe the luster has finally worn off the City Manager and his true stripes are showing. Any person on the coincul that approves this should be recalled.

"Maybe the luster has finally worn off the City Manager...."

Really, how can you say this about a scholar sporting such a prestigious PhD?

Tinkers_Damn writes:

Back-fill the North end of the lake.

Raise taxes, sell bonds, give up, lead social lives and stop resisting.

freedomofspeech1 writes:

Marco Island needs to come into the 21st Century!
The current facility is antiquated and serves little to no purpose. The cost is virtually pennies to each individual homeowner. Homes assessed at $500K will pay $38 in tax! For $38 a year you will have a state of the art facility that you can be proud of. What do we have now but a feww bocce and shuffleboard courts. We can allocate millions for sewers and beautification but nothing for the enhancement of all of our lives. Parks and Recreation bring tremendous value to a community. A community with first rate facilities sell themselves. Marco currently has first rate schools. If this were to pass the quality of life here would increase and make it much more attractive to live here. We shouldnt be so shortminded.

newsyoucanuse writes:

"What do we have now but a feww bocce and shuffleboard courts"

The new facility will be a $6,000,000 indoor basketball court. A few people will run around on the track. I've seen this type of facility in other towns across the country, and I don't expect the Marco version to be much different, if not worse.

The "multi-use" purposes they're promoting are just a bunch of BS, and will never be used enough to justify this project.

The "technology room" and "specialty/teaching kitchen" seem totally unnecessary. Doesn't Marco already have existing buildings that can be used for community programs and adult education?

Does Marco need a place like this for banquets and wedding receptions? It would never make a profit from them. It will likely lose money.

How many people on Marco are really going to use this thing? This project better not just be for the high school.

The biggest fans of this project are the people in charge of it. They have their own interest in mind, or want to seem important/busy.

If this project passes, it will probably be a huge flop. Marco residents will complain about having to pay this bill for years to come.

dc5799 writes:

in response to newsyoucanuse:

"What do we have now but a feww bocce and shuffleboard courts"

The new facility will be a $6,000,000 indoor basketball court. A few people will run around on the track. I've seen this type of facility in other towns across the country, and I don't expect the Marco version to be much different, if not worse.

The "multi-use" purposes they're promoting are just a bunch of BS, and will never be used enough to justify this project.

The "technology room" and "specialty/teaching kitchen" seem totally unnecessary. Doesn't Marco already have existing buildings that can be used for community programs and adult education?

Does Marco need a place like this for banquets and wedding receptions? It would never make a profit from them. It will likely lose money.

How many people on Marco are really going to use this thing? This project better not just be for the high school.

The biggest fans of this project are the people in charge of it. They have their own interest in mind, or want to seem important/busy.

If this project passes, it will probably be a huge flop. Marco residents will complain about having to pay this bill for years to come.

Similar to the museum that sits empty most of the time.

RayPray writes:

Here is the true irony of the Gunga Jane high school project.

Whenever I go to the library, it is well used.

Same for Mackle Park, always seem to be enough kids there.

However, the museum -- built with taxpayer $$$ to satisfy a handful of establishment characters -- has no reason to exist, few exhibits, and no prospect of future traffic.

I mean, how many people do you know who moved down here or vacation here because they care anything about the Calusa Indians of Grandma Barfield?

If instead of this foolish museum, this lot had been used for the proposed High School, it would have been just the right site.

There would have been no eagle upsetting issues. The kids would then have the library just across the street, and the Mackle Park gym, etc 5 minutes away.

The best solution for the empty museum is to turn it into the 'Calusa Casino' The proceeds from this gaming venu can then be used for various kid programs....

Seawaller writes:

The want versus need factor again seemingly being overlooked, but in this case I can't even understand the want part. $6 million for an indoor track, basketball court, and cooking class! It's southwest Florida for goodness sake. What do we need an indoor track and basketball court for? My sons use the present basketball court and find it more than adequate. Wedding receptions at the basketball park? Whew, who makes this stuff up? Here are my recomendations: run on the beach, play basketball at the present facility, have your wedding reception at the Marriott, learn to cook in your own kitchen, and for your technology needs try Radio Shack. If this went to referendum, which I doubt the supporters will let happen, I would vote no way in a heartbeat. Not one dime, let alone $38.

On a final note, if you need to play indoors you should consider relocating to a big northern city where tracks, football fields, baseball fields etc. are all inside because it's -20 below zero outside 6 months out of the year.

LadueVGilleo writes:

Save the money; scrap the project.

ajm3s writes:

in response to freedomofspeech1:

Marco Island needs to come into the 21st Century!
The current facility is antiquated and serves little to no purpose. The cost is virtually pennies to each individual homeowner. Homes assessed at $500K will pay $38 in tax! For $38 a year you will have a state of the art facility that you can be proud of. What do we have now but a feww bocce and shuffleboard courts. We can allocate millions for sewers and beautification but nothing for the enhancement of all of our lives. Parks and Recreation bring tremendous value to a community. A community with first rate facilities sell themselves. Marco currently has first rate schools. If this were to pass the quality of life here would increase and make it much more attractive to live here. We shouldnt be so shortminded.

That is just for the lease. In the 21st century, central planners and socialist like to spend until we run out of other people's money. Then they ask wasn't it only $38/year to build it. But now with all this added space and features we will need to staff up and add to maintenance and insurance and air conditioning and lighting and oh my god I'm in the 21st century and everything is going up in cost. The cost of living is going up unless you exclude energy and food.

Hey you folks with retirement income tied to the Federal COLA, welcome the government excludes energy and food. So the COLA is flat. Really, ask yourself is inflation not here, per your government statistician.

Yeah, only $38/year. Sounds like a car leasing pitch. We need a Mercedes Sprinter because our Chevy Econovan does not meet the Marco Island image. We need more space and the old model is obsolete.

Wasn't that the same argument when the city purchased the Glon property, and now I pay $57/yr to see a field of dreams. So lets just add another #38/year for a school gym, but it will take a bit more to operate than the Glon purchase.

Is my perspective skewed?

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to RayPray:

Here is the true irony of the Gunga Jane high school project.

Whenever I go to the library, it is well used.

Same for Mackle Park, always seem to be enough kids there.

However, the museum -- built with taxpayer $$$ to satisfy a handful of establishment characters -- has no reason to exist, few exhibits, and no prospect of future traffic.

I mean, how many people do you know who moved down here or vacation here because they care anything about the Calusa Indians of Grandma Barfield?

If instead of this foolish museum, this lot had been used for the proposed High School, it would have been just the right site.

There would have been no eagle upsetting issues. The kids would then have the library just across the street, and the Mackle Park gym, etc 5 minutes away.

The best solution for the empty museum is to turn it into the 'Calusa Casino' The proceeds from this gaming venu can then be used for various kid programs....

RayPray - I'm pleased to agree with you on this. Very well said. I've been trying, but still don't understand how that museum got the OK. Nonetheless, I support your input on this, and the non Tract K solution for the HS. Thank you.

Jojo writes:

Beware of the Trojan Horse, It is not what it seems. Hiding inside will be more taxes and facility for the school. So even if you are planning on using it, you will have to get inline behind the high school. It is a convenient way to pay for her facilities, which she will need for a high school under the cover of a new community center. The Trojan Horse will again prove to be more destructive than we could even imagine. Don't want to pay for anything that involves the high school.

marcofriend writes:

in response to ajm3s:

That is just for the lease. In the 21st century, central planners and socialist like to spend until we run out of other people's money. Then they ask wasn't it only $38/year to build it. But now with all this added space and features we will need to staff up and add to maintenance and insurance and air conditioning and lighting and oh my god I'm in the 21st century and everything is going up in cost. The cost of living is going up unless you exclude energy and food.

Hey you folks with retirement income tied to the Federal COLA, welcome the government excludes energy and food. So the COLA is flat. Really, ask yourself is inflation not here, per your government statistician.

Yeah, only $38/year. Sounds like a car leasing pitch. We need a Mercedes Sprinter because our Chevy Econovan does not meet the Marco Island image. We need more space and the old model is obsolete.

Wasn't that the same argument when the city purchased the Glon property, and now I pay $57/yr to see a field of dreams. So lets just add another #38/year for a school gym, but it will take a bit more to operate than the Glon purchase.

Is my perspective skewed?

You are absolutely correct in what you are saying. The only thing I could add is that the Veterans Park "plan" will follow right behind this and it will only cost us another $50 per year for God knows how many years. If out City Council supports this without a referendum then everything from now on is fair game. Remember, all people were too s----- to understand the Water/Sewer/STRP issue, which is why we never got to have a referendum on it so I guess we are all too s----- to understand this also.
I could not be more angry with the backroom politics on this island.......and I thought the Parks and Recs Foundation actually cared about the people on Marco. They will never see me at another support function - ever.

Stilllaughing writes:

in response to marcofriend:

You are absolutely correct in what you are saying. The only thing I could add is that the Veterans Park "plan" will follow right behind this and it will only cost us another $50 per year for God knows how many years. If out City Council supports this without a referendum then everything from now on is fair game. Remember, all people were too s----- to understand the Water/Sewer/STRP issue, which is why we never got to have a referendum on it so I guess we are all too s----- to understand this also.
I could not be more angry with the backroom politics on this island.......and I thought the Parks and Recs Foundation actually cared about the people on Marco. They will never see me at another support function - ever.

Nice to see a string of intelligent posts for a change.
What is it about elected officials that they cannot grasp the concept of fiscal responsibility. There's going to be trouble on this one

marco97 writes:

We now have duck decoys in the lake to make up for the real ones that were removed/killed. These are much nicer and easier to care for then the real thing. Maybe the City should put fake fish in the lake and maybe other fake wildlife around the park as well for ambiance.

RayPray writes:

in response to marco97:

We now have duck decoys in the lake to make up for the real ones that were removed/killed. These are much nicer and easier to care for then the real thing. Maybe the City should put fake fish in the lake and maybe other fake wildlife around the park as well for ambiance.

How about replacing the City Council itself with a group of wax dummies?

MarcoCitizen writes:

The City Council is going to spend our money on unneeded items because we can't say no. A change in our charter is a good solution where the voters vote on any budget up or down. This works great all over the country in some municipalities but Marco's government is so flawed it allows elected officials unlimited recklessly spending of our money. Let's take the power of the purse strings back from these irresponsible elected officials.

marco97 writes:

in response to RayPray:

How about replacing the City Council itself with a group of wax dummies?

That's a good idea, of course we will need 4 firms to submit 1/8 scale wax models at 200,000 each before we chose one.

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