Frustrated residents voice displeasure to Marco Island City Council over Mackle expansion plans

Courtesy City of Marco Island
This rendering is of the proposed new community center for Mackle Park that would replace the current building. This one is almost 40,000 square feet. The cost: at least $7.2 million over 12 years.

Courtesy City of Marco Island This rendering is of the proposed new community center for Mackle Park that would replace the current building. This one is almost 40,000 square feet. The cost: at least $7.2 million over 12 years.

Mackle Park looking east with Heathwood Drive in the foreground.

Photo by QUENTIN ROUX, Staff // Buy this photo

Mackle Park looking east with Heathwood Drive in the foreground.

Chris Curle Special to the Eagle
A serious proposal is moving through the city government to build a two-story replacement for this building, the community center at Mackle Park. The new facility would be almost five times larger.

Chris Curle Special to the Eagle A serious proposal is moving through the city government to build a two-story replacement for this building, the community center at Mackle Park. The new facility would be almost five times larger.

— Dozens of residents showed up at Tuesday night’s Marco City Council meeting to urge that councilmen to reconsider plans to replace the existing 8,000-square-foot Mackle Park recreation center with a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building at an estimated cost of $6 million. Council members endorsed a review of funding for the potential project at a workshop late last month.

Not a single resident who spoke out supported the building proposal, stating that councilmen should put any significant expenditure plans to a referendum for voters to decide.

Councilman Larry Magel noted that several years ago, residents turned down a chance to vote by referendum on expenditures over $12 million dollars.

“We gave voters the opportunity to put that to law and it failed,” Magel told one resident who spoke before council.

Larry Sacher, chairman of Marco Island Homeowners said that in five days, he’s received more than one-thousand emails from residents who want council to stop any further consideration of the Mackle Park project and adopt a referendum on the issue to be placed on the November, 2012 ballot.

Council chairman Frank R. Recker stressed to audience members that the building plan is only being considered; it’s not a done deal.

“I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves,” he told the crowd. “Let’s get something concrete first.”

But one audience member shouted, “Why spend the money?” a question that was greeted with cheers and applause.

Resident Eileen Recchia scolded council members for attempting to spend taxpayer dollars on a non-essential project when so many people on the Island are facing tough financial times. She questioned why the city hasn’t imposed a moratorium on new public spending.

“When are you going to start to represent us?” she chided councilors. “Use your intellectual abilities and make good decisions. I’m not happy with your performance.”

In other business, Marco Island Fire Chief Mike Murphy told council members that Isle of Capri Fire Department will no longer provide automatic aid to the city when fire alarms are dispatched. The change took effect Feb. 15.

The Isle of Capri department, which has three-to-four firefighters, will still respond if needed in the event of a structure fire or rescue, and will offer ‘key station coverage’, which means firefighters from Capri will bring a truck to a staging area on Marco Island should the city’s crews be tied up on other calls.

According to Murphy, the neighboring department responded to 333 commercial fire alarms on the Island in 2010 (in conjunction with Marco Island Fire Department) and more than 600 rescue calls. Often, fire alarms turn out to be false alarms.

In discussions with Isle of Capri officials, Murphy told councilors that economic concerns and the need to satisfy its own taxpayers are two of the reasons for the neighboring town’s decision.

As a result, the City of Marco has reached an agreement with the East Naples Fire Department, which will respond to commercial fire alarms and automatic aid on the island. Murphy was quick to point out that despite Isle of Capri’s decision, Marco will continue to provide automatic aid to the small town.

“This is about safety of firefighters and the city we’re protecting,” said Murphy. “It’s not about holding back.

“We’re heavily dependent on mutual aid and automatic aid and nothing should get in the way of that.”

Murphy noted that response times will most likely be impacted as a result of the change; and it will take the East Naples Fire Department three additional minutes to get to the scene. However, this added partnership will likely result in greater cooperation between the two departments when it comes to operations, training and maintenance.

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Comments » 33

ajm3s writes:

Mr. Magel:

You missed the opportunity. When folks show up at a Council meeting with petitions in hand, representing property owners they are voicing a specific concern.

We like to give our Councilors flexibility, as with the 12MM cap for referendum votes, however, there are occasions when the folks find some projects that simply should not be considered at this time, given the climate of the bond markets and rising inflation (which includes energy and food).

See the issue is not the Charter, IT IS THE SPENDING AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

You promised fiscal responsibility, NOW act the part. We are not flame throwers, we simply wish to petition our concerns without contempt towards any age group.

I will however, ask a very simple question. The enlargement of a Community Center and the request to open Station 51 seem to indicate that the island is growing and requires more stuff, is that in fact the case? Or did we not manage our needs in Council's past?

For the record, I think Marco Island services meet and exceed the NEEDS of the COMMON interests. All "improvements" I have seen to date actually benefit a specific subset of folks, be it tourists, visitors, children etc to be supported with COMMON taxes. And may I say to the detriment of maintaining existing city owned properties, i.e. cul-de-sacs.

Well then, I want a Senior Center because my home is insufficient in providing all the amusements from private industry, therefore the city government needs to furnish at the expense of young growing families. Will this become a war of the ages?

The P&R is turning into a management lobby for amusement. Stop thinking government needs to provide for our amusement.

Respectfully,

Publius

islandgma writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can't imagine this person lives here because if she did she would be sick and tired of something always being dug up, ripped apart, trucks running off and on the island year after year, and to say nothing of the constant spending....oh - and please reread your messages for the use of the english language.

RayPray writes:

in response to islandgma:

I can't imagine this person lives here because if she did she would be sick and tired of something always being dug up, ripped apart, trucks running off and on the island year after year, and to say nothing of the constant spending....oh - and please reread your messages for the use of the english language.

Marianne Herzili honors these blogs a lady of delicate Teutonic sensibilities.

She was graduated with highest honors from the ancient University of Heidelberg.

While Gnädiges Mädchen Herzili was not the first women to attend this estemed insitution, she was the first girl to join a Dueling Fraternity there -- and she has ample facial scars to prove it!

comment writes:

"Resident Eileen Recchia scolded council members for attempting to spend taxpayer dollars on a non-essential project when so many people on the Island are facing tough financial times. She questioned why the city hasn’t imposed a moratorium on new public spending.

“When are you going to start to represent us?” she chided councilors. “Use your intellectual abilities and make good decisions. I’m not happy with your performance.”"

In response to Ms. Recchia - when are you going to run for office. You think you can do a better job. What will your interests be?

1. Will you do what is in the best interest of families and children on the Island?

2. What about a safe place for people to stay if there is a state of emergency. Will you be staying in the current community center - probably not - you will run like the wind off the island.

3. What is the Council doing wrong. You the voters of Marco Island agreed to the $12 million limit. Council is doing their job.

Ms. Recchia, stand up and support this new facility, it is in the best interest of the community.

Tinkers_Damn writes:

Fill in the lake and build a FEMA camp. Borrow the funds from JP Morgue and default on the loan.

We'll get to know each other as we share bottled water and a stale doughnut. Director 'Sour Milk' can provide the entertainment.

thefallofRome writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Marianne Herzili ???

Can’t find the name on the collier county tax collectors site, so now I see why she commented as she did, other people’s money is fun to spend.

marcojerry writes:

THE MARCO CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE HIRING OF 3 NEW FIREFIGHTERS 2 YEARS AGO TO BE USED FOR THE LADDER TRUCK THAT THE FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS, YET THEY ENDED UP ON THE COLLIER COUNTY EMS AMBULANCE, WHEN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT ALREADY PUTS A FIREFIGHTER ON THE AMBULANCE, SO NOW 2 FIREFIGHTERS ARE ON THE AMBULANCE, PLUS AN EMS PARAMEDIC. MARCO IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE THREE PEOPLE ARE ON THE AMBULANCE AND NOW WE AS MARCO ISLAND TAX PAYERS ARE PAYING FOR TWO FIREFIGHTERS ON THE COUNTY AMBULANCE WHEN THEY SHOULD BE ON A FIRE ENGINE. EMS IS BILLING THE CITIZENS AND VISITORS OF MARCO THAT THEY TRANSPORT WHEN THERE ARE 2 MARCO FIREFIGHTERS ON IT AND ONE EMS PARAMEDIC, YET MARCO SEE'S NONE OF THE MONEY MADE FROM TRANSPORTING PATIENTS. WHY ARE WE GIVING 2 FIREFIGHTERS TO EMS FOR FREE WHEN THEY ONLY HAVE ONE EMS PARAMEDIC ON THE AMBULANCE AND THE MARCO ISLAND TAXPAYER GETS TO PAY THE SALARIES OF 2 FIREFIGHTERS THAT ARE ESSENTIALLY WORKING FOR EMS? WE ARE SAVING EMS MONEY BY PAYING FOR PERSONNEL TO WORK FOR THEM AND SAVE THEM THE COST OF ANOTHER EMS EMPLOYEE WORKING ON THE AMBULANCE. THIS MAKES NO SENSE, WE AS MARCO ISLAND TAX PAYERS ARE GIVING 2 FIREFIGHTERS TO EMS FOR FREE WHILE THEY BILL PATIENTS OVER $1000 EVERY TIME THEY GO TO THE HOSPITAL, PLUS THEY GET $$$MILLIONS$$$ EACH YEAR FROM THE TAX BASE OF MARCO TOO, WE ARE GETTING SCREWED IN TWO WAYS!

comment writes:

Isldaneye1#236971: Quite to the contrary, your comments just prove you are one of the closed-minded, ill informed citizens of Marco Island and Collier County. Do you realize that there not a state of the art facility from Marco Island to Livingston Road. Is a crappy rundown Community Center. Is that what you want the Island residents to be known for? What happens if you as a resident need a shelter. The current Community Center cannot house anyone.

I would also bet you will be one of the first residents to be there to use the new facility.

This Community Center has absolutely nothing to do with the Charter High School. It has to do with COMMUNITY. One I am sorry to say you are a part of.

Get off you high horse and support the COMMUNITY or move out.

Marconian writes:

What I dont understand is why does the city continue to tell its employees that it does not have money to give raises (going on four years now)but the city has spent 100s of millions in the same breath on nice to have items. when the pay freeze began to city employees, when the council decided to stop giving raises (due to lack of funds)in that same meeting they gave $300,000 to the empty museum fund and continued to separate money ever since to fund millions of dollars of we want items and continue to ignore the fact that their employees are left behind to struggle as gas food rent and utiluties continue to rise when will council start to realize the common workers need raises.

RayPray writes:

in response to comment:

Isldaneye1#236971: Quite to the contrary, your comments just prove you are one of the closed-minded, ill informed citizens of Marco Island and Collier County. Do you realize that there not a state of the art facility from Marco Island to Livingston Road. Is a crappy rundown Community Center. Is that what you want the Island residents to be known for? What happens if you as a resident need a shelter. The current Community Center cannot house anyone.

I would also bet you will be one of the first residents to be there to use the new facility.

This Community Center has absolutely nothing to do with the Charter High School. It has to do with COMMUNITY. One I am sorry to say you are a part of.

Get off you high horse and support the COMMUNITY or move out.

"Do you realize that there not a state of the art facility from Marco Island to Livingston Road."

Wrong! The beautiful new South Lely Regional Library is such facility.

"Is that what you want the Island residents to be known for?"

True! I spend all day fretting over what island residents will be known for. Known for by whom, by the way? Your Midwest yokel relatives?

"What happens if you as a resident need a shelter."

If I need a shelter, I will head either for the South Lely Regional Library or the new Golden Gate HS, both about a half hour away and constructed like the Maginot Line....

RayPray writes:

in response to Marconian:

What I dont understand is why does the city continue to tell its employees that it does not have money to give raises (going on four years now)but the city has spent 100s of millions in the same breath on nice to have items. when the pay freeze began to city employees, when the council decided to stop giving raises (due to lack of funds)in that same meeting they gave $300,000 to the empty museum fund and continued to separate money ever since to fund millions of dollars of we want items and continue to ignore the fact that their employees are left behind to struggle as gas food rent and utiluties continue to rise when will council start to realize the common workers need raises.

Since being a Marco City employee is almost like being retired, all who are not happy with the already generous salaries and benefits should quit.

Believe me, they will be replaced by worthwile people in one afternoon.

There were many good people working for Robb & Stookey and Evans Oil ready to take over your job....

liberator100 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

RayPray writes:

?

LadueVGilleo writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

waverunner writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

thefallofRome writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep no Herz paying taxes, just hot wind telling people that they are dumb.

RayPray writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Red Flora?

Sure that wasn't the Rote Armee Fraktion?

MrsT writes:

This was once a nice quiet little island. So sad to see all the anger. I have worked on Marco for 23 years. Those of you who have been here before it became a city (by a slim margin and numerous tries) know how divisive decisions have become here. I moved here because I liked the quaintness of Marco not to have it try to get a "big city feel". We have been lied to by those in city council who said the would be fiscally responsible and reign in the spending.We don't WANT a city council that listens to the people they represent, we NEED a city council that listens to those it represents and most important we DESERVE a city council that listens to the people they represent. I think there are a number of people on this island that really would be better off living in a BIG city. Where has paradise gone???

marco97 writes:

MrsT, I got here a couple years after you did and I remember all the votes for city-hood, funny how once it's done you can't undo it. I wish we could vote to go back to the the way it was before we became a City.

ajm3s writes:

in response to MrsT:

This was once a nice quiet little island. So sad to see all the anger. I have worked on Marco for 23 years. Those of you who have been here before it became a city (by a slim margin and numerous tries) know how divisive decisions have become here. I moved here because I liked the quaintness of Marco not to have it try to get a "big city feel". We have been lied to by those in city council who said the would be fiscally responsible and reign in the spending.We don't WANT a city council that listens to the people they represent, we NEED a city council that listens to those it represents and most important we DESERVE a city council that listens to the people they represent. I think there are a number of people on this island that really would be better off living in a BIG city. Where has paradise gone???

I believe you hit nail. They want a BIG city look, not the "protecting the island’s tropical small town character" as stated in

http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/inde...

MarcoCitizen writes:

These commissions the City creates are just to justify spending on useless projects. Jim, create a commission to study reducing our crushing debt,selling some misguided acquisitions, reducing wasteful and duplicate spending like the Police and Fire which we also pay Collier County for and they are happy to take the money without having to give us the any service. Let's have some honesty and recognition of reality in our government

Marconian writes:

in response to RayPray:

Since being a Marco City employee is almost like being retired, all who are not happy with the already generous salaries and benefits should quit.

Believe me, they will be replaced by worthwile people in one afternoon.

There were many good people working for Robb & Stookey and Evans Oil ready to take over your job....

I do believe you mean Robb & (Stucky) interior design services. Not to point out your lack of spelling correctness. By viewing most of your comments no excuse is needed.It is quite apparent you may have been very well dropped on your head as a child. That is the only way I can conceive your comment. Not that a response is necessary to point out your asininity.

RayPray writes:

in response to Marconian:

I do believe you mean Robb & (Stucky) interior design services. Not to point out your lack of spelling correctness. By viewing most of your comments no excuse is needed.It is quite apparent you may have been very well dropped on your head as a child. That is the only way I can conceive your comment. Not that a response is necessary to point out your asininity.

"Not to point out your lack of spelling correctness."

>>> But you did.

"It is quite apparent you may have been very well dropped on your head as a child."

If this is 'apparent' how can you use 'may' ?

"Not that a response is necessary to point out your asininity."

>>> Yet you did respond anyhow....

>>> Snoozy municipal workers have the sweetest deal in our area.

When you challenge their sinecure status, they really get annoyed.

Look at Wisconsin.....

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Marianne Herzili, a.k.a Klabautermann

Thank you once again for bringing into a discussion of Mackle Park another reference to the Academy and posting the following. "Jane Watt High School in the center of the neighborhood of young families"

I think that parents should know who the teachers are going to be without having to go and be sold a bill of goods at the storefront.

Why are the Credentials and Experiences of the teachers not posted at least on the Academy's Web site like that of the principal and coach?

Please answer this question without the usual avoidance maneuver the Academy's proponents are so adept at doing.

What does the Academy have to hide? Who will 30+ enrollees be exposed to in the fall.

Parents should know this, it is our tax dollars paying for their salaries.

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

I think I getting to like this Academy.

1 teacher for 3 kids. Like privit tutoring.

RayPray writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Very good!

Marcogirl28 writes:

What really gets me!!! is I don't even LIVE on Marco "The Rock" and I still have to pay for Marco water which is totally ridiculous!!! and expensive!!! Heard it was going up another 27% The way the council runs this island is a Joke!!!! It's all about who you know and how much money they have and how you can get in the cracks!!!Keep it simple and tropical and not make it a Cement/Paved City!!! UGH!!!!

marco97 writes:

The amount signage on the island has to be scaled back, I do not want to see the new ugly electronic sign that Milk bought out on Bald Eagle telling me to lock my car doors at night, who thinks this sign looks good on Marco. Also look at all the signs they put up at the two streets that intersect the new unneeded bike path to Mackle park. I remember back in the eighties the feds started limiting signs on highways for some beautification act, were going the opposite way on this island. The signs are out of control.

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

in response to marco97:

The amount signage on the island has to be scaled back, I do not want to see the new ugly electronic sign that Milk bought out on Bald Eagle telling me to lock my car doors at night, who thinks this sign looks good on Marco. Also look at all the signs they put up at the two streets that intersect the new unneeded bike path to Mackle park. I remember back in the eighties the feds started limiting signs on highways for some beautification act, were going the opposite way on this island. The signs are out of control.

Those signs ugly but are gettin us redy for the 250 off island students for the Academy. Wait end see!

Marconian writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Im not talking about the fat cats pushing paper at city hall. Im talking about the workers the people out in the heat and sun getting dirt on their hands they are the ones who suffer when you cry for cuts. All Im saying is as citizens we need to realize the difference between the general staff and city hall officials. when they make cuts its not the big money makers in the glass palace that they Harvest from. It is the low wage earners the hourly help that they kick it to not the big salary City Staff, do you think they are really going to take from themselves.Sure they cut some jobs from the city hall clothe but look what jobs and who? Either the position was not needed or the person was not to popular no savings there cause they spent that money before it was available and was minimal at best. anyway I just want you to know who takes these hits.
Employee of the month at any work place is a joke. I dont believe in being rewarded for doing your job Period. Thats what you get paid for.
I would Just like to see one person ask why do you continue to spend Money on we want Items and claim you cant give your Manual Laborers a raise.
and if a starting wage of 33 thousand a year on an island where the average rent is $16,800.00 a year for a single family home along with 150 dollar water bills and 200 dollar electric bills just where will all these hungry workers come from Immokalee/Fort Myers... not likely the gas would take all their personal need money just trust me when I say they sacrifice the workers not the big wage earners.

Marconian writes:

in response to Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True:

Those signs ugly but are gettin us redy for the 250 off island students for the Academy. Wait end see!

I too think those signs are overkill but that is not the islands choice to make that is the d.o.t rules and state and federal law... (unfortunately...)

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot writes:

Tinkers_blasted,

Nice! I don't think I will need to stay here if the JPmorgue fails. I be leaving deaths waiting room (AKA Marco Island) rapidly. I'm not sharing water or anything else with these people. Cash, Pm's, food & brass will take me where I need to go. That is already planned. Good luck!

Jojo writes:

As I sat at the city council meeting the other night I realized that they don't have a clue to what is needed or not need on this Island. I am sure none of our esteemed council members have see the inside of a gym any many years, run on a indoor track or gone out of their house to use a community computer lab. This facility is not being built for the citizens of Marco. It is being build for the High School. This is a way of getting the people of Marco Island to pay for the infastructure of this lame high school. They don't have the funds to build their own facilites, let alone fund the cost of a high school. We know city council supports this high school and they are going to make the citizens of Marco pay for it. We don't need a gym, indoor track, culinary kitchen or computer lab, but a high school will need all of these. The community center is a Trojan Horse deguised as a community center, when infact it is not at all going to be that. This will only destroy the economy of this island with high taxes and the lives of the citizens who live here. 50 students do not make a high school.

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