SHOP TALK: Some ‘dreamers’ are taxing our patience

Here’s an idea for people who want a new palatial community center in Mackle Park to include among its opulent operations an event room that could be rented our for a profit.

They have visions of the city making big bucks hosting wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthdays, Marco Island Academy class reunions and other groups that would pay for a place to play.

If you think that’s a good idea, check with some of your favorite hotel managers and restaurateurs. They mostly think it’s awful, even though they are in no hurry to get into a public dispute with city hall.

“I don’t know what the dreamers are thinking of,” one business executive told us.

But wait. Might we actually need a government-owned, taxpayer-supported party-room-meeting-hall venue? Let’s see what’s out there already.

The Hilton has facilities that fit the description.

“We have a nice bar room area and a penthouse terrace where we do a lot of groups,” notes Manager Mac Chaudhry. “We have receptions around the pool and on the beach. We have the Seagull Room and the Heron Room that hold easily 60 people each. Then, of course, there’s the big ballroom. So we have a lot of options, as do many hotels.”

Across Collier Boulevard, Al Landers at Stonewalls restaurant says he can arrange use of his place for private parties, dinners and other events.

Just another example. There are scores more.

How about Bistro Soleil, the fine French restaurant at the Olde Marco Island Inn?

Co-owner Lisa Meurgue encourages and welcomes private meetings and parties.

“We have the ballroom, of course, plus four more dining rooms. Also, based on availability and the time of year, we can put a given number of people in one room because they’ve requested it for a private meeting or dinner and such.

“When the NFL group was here our ballroom was rented for an exhibit of workout equipment.”

The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort also hosted the NFL gathering and put on a beach party for 600 of them. The Marriott also has three ballrooms on the property plus the Rookery clubhouse at the off-island golf course.

“We have a plethora of space available, not only for convention groups but also for our local clients’ use. For example the Marco Town Hall event was here. We did more than 125 weddings last year, for groups of from 10 to 500 people.”

Plans for a major new convention center near the Marriott on South Collier would add about 40,000 square feet for locals and visitors to meet, greet, wine, dine and contribute to the local economy.

What’s next, City Pizza?

Obviously we all could name lots of Marco venues in restaurants and lodging centers where people can hold private events. So why should city butt into that business? Just to make money to help pay for the place?

While they’re at it, how about putting in a city-owned and operated pizza store? We can only get pizza from about nine or 10 places on the Island — not nearly enough. And Government Pizza could tout its cheaper pies and unmatched delivery service.

A pizza could cost less than at private sector stores because it would have no rent or taxes to pay. City Pizza could offer great home delivery by having Marco police do it, sirens wailing, lights flashing. We can see the slogan now, “City Pizza, delivery in three minutes or your pizza is free and so is your ‘Get out of jail’ card.”

Why not have the city get into the dry cleaning business? Oh, sorry, some at city hall already have big ideas that might take the taxpayers to the cleaners.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. Email chris@chriscurle.com.

Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Email: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 31

blogsmog writes:

mangia mangia...Good article.

StevenJamesPekeroskyFox writes:

wow, that sounds a little too rude of an article. Did Mr. Farmer ever think that maybe most of these places on the island are over priced for most....I guess not. Too busy being rude. There is a more decent way of proposing this article.

wetsetmarine writes:

Tell it like it is...let the hopey, changey dreamers keep dreaming!!!

RayPray writes:

"check with some of your favorite hotel managers and restaurateurs"

They'd be my favorites too as long as they comped me free meals & services whenever I showed up....

August8 writes:

Not treally

ajm3s writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So you are recommending that a site under a "proofed unprofessional management of the Yacht Club" can be now managed better by a government?

Really? Replace one over spending regime with another based on your assessment of both entities?

Stop the "idea" factory, and let's look at cold cash investments as a means to evaluate one's skin in the game.

If you want a new Community Center, and you have a foundation to support and raise monies for such, than I say the foundation should "JUST DO IT". And that does not even include the operating expenses which have not been publicly revealed to date.

In fact, I think our bird (i.e. eagle sanctuary) and animal (i.e. dog park aficionados) fund raising groups foundations do a better and effective job than the people focused fund raisers. Is there a reason for that?

Hint: Some groups believe in the cause while others believe in ............

RayPray writes:

"City Council has to buy the Marco Island Yacht Club"

Not a bad idea!

Could designate Art Farmer as greeter.

...Also provide discount drinks for hard-charging triple-dipping brass of the MIPD and their double-dipping wives....

marco826 writes:

The article makes perfect sense. Marcoislandwoman has personal reasons for his ideas. Like America, Marco Island is out of control in its spending. The bubble will burst soon enough and thats the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.

Jojo writes:

Great insight. However,you failed to mention that the palace, will also be for Trailor High. They have no facilities and they will need a gym, technology lab, Kitchen and Of course a inside track. Again, they are trying to get us to pay for infastructure for this high school. Wake up everyone, stop the maddness. Mr. Recker and his partners want a high school. However, lack of students and therefore funds, will mean they will need to get money form somewhere to build the dream school and what better way than from the taxpayers, by building this new community center as a city project for the community. The old Trojan Horse story.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Jojo:

Great insight. However,you failed to mention that the palace, will also be for Trailor High. They have no facilities and they will need a gym, technology lab, Kitchen and Of course a inside track. Again, they are trying to get us to pay for infastructure for this high school. Wake up everyone, stop the maddness. Mr. Recker and his partners want a high school. However, lack of students and therefore funds, will mean they will need to get money form somewhere to build the dream school and what better way than from the taxpayers, by building this new community center as a city project for the community. The old Trojan Horse story.

JoJo,

It has been really surprising how "quiet" it has been about the Academy this past two weeks except for this Mackle Park diversion.

We have not heard a thing about staffing or enrollment. No news may mean nothing is happening. What do you think?

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

Ladies and gentlemen:
The idea of buying the yacht club or building the new community center/ new high school is absurd.
What should br considered is ....ROSE MARINA
It already has the following.
Boat storage building can be converted into a gymnasium for "Papa doc" Reviere's pick up games, a convention hall for weddings and meetings.
Already has a bar on site with a great water view.
The shrimp tanks can be turned into a marine studies area for high school studies.
The current store can be changed into classrooms for cooking and "one of the area colleges can have offer continuing ed' so Quagmire can get his real degree.
The office building can be converted into the City's marine patrol headquarters for rapid response and then Murphy can get his fire boat that he desperately wants..
Has a boat ramp that will generate all kinds of monies in boat launch fees.
Boat slips that can be rented to all the transient boaters.
This my freinds, is a great idea.

Jojo writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry to burst you bubble, but you are blind to the under the table maneuvers that our city council members willing to partake in to attain their goals. We see it everywhere. One meaning maneuver is.... "an action, especially a devious or deceptive one, done to gain advantage or a maneuver to avoid accountability". Put that on the table!

Jojo writes:

in response to Ocram:

JoJo,

It has been really surprising how "quiet" it has been about the Academy this past two weeks except for this Mackle Park diversion.

We have not heard a thing about staffing or enrollment. No news may mean nothing is happening. What do you think?

No news doesn't necessarily me nothing is happening. They tried to pull a fast one on us last year. They will continue to pursue this idiotic notion that a high school is needed on the island.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Ocram:

JoJo,

It has been really surprising how "quiet" it has been about the Academy this past two weeks except for this Mackle Park diversion.

We have not heard a thing about staffing or enrollment. No news may mean nothing is happening. What do you think?

I am far from sure that things going well. Their website list of directors is becoming smaller.

They do not appear have the teachers they need to cover a basic curriculum and rumor has it that they are pulling teachers from the MIMS to fill posiitions.
No, I think that they are in trouble and are trying to hide the facts in order secure funding from uninformed sources.
Why else would they not be making their usual unfounded claims of success?

Seawaller writes:

If Marco Island needs an indoor track, I can see no reason why it doesn't need an indoor lake. There are many days when it is not ideal boating weather, and an indoor lake would alleviate that. As for ballrooms and a commercial kitchen, if that is needed I can see no reason why the Island isn't in need of a municipal convention center like McCormick Place in Chicago or the Moscone Center in San Francisco. If the Island needs more indoor basketball courts, truly it needs a New York Madison Square Garden or a San Antonio Alamodome.

This nonsense makes as much sense to me as the proposed Mackle Park Convention/Learning Center and Sportsplex.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

There is nothing but a never ending list of people on this island who want to get their names engraved on something so that they can prove to the world that they made a difference.

The sad part it usually is at someone else's expense.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are finally correct about one thing. Congratulations!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

MarcoIslandWoman,

In addition, I would like to take a moment to "thank" the MIA proponent who blogged 9 months ago that she "never ever loses ever", for bringing out the best in me. : )

u2cane writes:

Wow, over 70 students. I had over 150 students in my Senior class alone, let alone a whole school. Oh and MH or Klab or whatever you call yourself these days, I did learn sarcasm while there.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

M.H.,

First there were 250 students to be enrolled, then there were 150, and then again there were 125 and now the wopping number from you is 70.
35 students per grade level.

Somehow I remember that M.H. said that she had nothing to do with the Academy but now gives out information that no one else seems to know or confirm.

Could it be that M.H. has an on top proponent blogging using the same screen name as Klabs? The two different writing patterns are too obvious to ignore.

Now you can tell us how many students but you can not tell us how many teachers or who the teachers are going to be or what their credentials or experiences are.

Interesting that the Academy office has now posted on their web-site that they are moving their "public friendly" offices from the Esplanade to the trailers.

Please remember your mosquito spray.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

M.H.,

Back to your old self again. Can't or refuse to answer a question honestly and then you proceed with name calling. You already lied about me and others in earlier blogs, what is the difference this time? Can anything you say be considered truthful or relevant for that matter, with that reputation?

If you call seeking the truth and requesting questions to be clearly answered with complete transparency being fanatical, so be it.

So, stuff your insidious attempts to misdirect discussion as you have done countless times in the past, or have your handlers called you out to be a disruption once again?

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Now M.H. is the spokesperson for the Academy!

How low they have gone to avoid answering the real questions and have you posting unsubstantiated comments.

Who are the teachers? What are their credentials and experiences? Are they being dragged out of the Marco Middle School with no real High School experience? That is really going to get the students through the college entrance exams which they will need to pass. The kids are going to be the "real" losers in this situation.
Just wait and see.

Keep calling people names and I will continue asking the questions that have to be answered.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

But wait, I am assuming that there are teachers hired or ready to be hired.

How pointless it would be to have 83 students and they have no or few certified teachers to teach them.

Could this be what the Academy is really hiding by not answering the questions asked and having KlaberHerzili posts just the number of students?

How long can this charade continue?

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

M.H.

Once again, without all of the misdirecting, smoke and mirrors, who are the teachers what are their credentials and where are they coming from?

What is the Academy still hiding?

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

M.H.,

I am your neighbor, you know the one who avoids talking to you. Now, which one could that be?

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

Ocram, Marianne is atemting to get you to give your name, those are tactics to threaten and make you stop your commenting. Marianne a bad person.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Dubrovnik,

Sir, I am aware of the tactics being attempted by Ms. Herzili. Expose those who disagree with you and your cronies will take care of them. Sad, but this type of behavior is not new and has gone on for some time.

Maybe I could use the name of Dr. Richard Herzili and pose as her make believe husband with a make believe name like hers.

Marconian writes:

All of your concerns are only noise whether your for something or against something the only voices that matter are of the 8 your council and city manager so just stop the noise your slowing there thinking of more ways to waste money and I will quote again you,I,We are just a bunch of noise makers...not my words just the good doctors words....what a sad Man.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Marconian,

If some folks thought that what is being said was only noise, they would not respond so vehemently and with lack of transparency to what is being requested.

When you have something to hide you are going to make a greater effort at avoidance than to actually and simply answer the question.

That is why I will continue my questions until I get the honest answers that are verifiable.

MarcoMaven writes:

All I hear is that we should be SPENDING money, on an Academy that we don't need. Need. On a new community center at Mackle Park. The one there is fine; we don't NEED a new one. City Council should but the yacht club? I don't think so; why for heaven's sake? It's a useless building for well-heeled drunks to stand around and drink. One of these days it will fold. We didn't NEED that redundant, practically empty historical museum; the one in Naples is great. The millions they got could have been better spent, on something we NEED (like 24-hour health care at the Health Center, what Gene Sarazen thought he was paying for). We don't NEED the MIPD. All that group does is spend money and harass us. We didn't NEED to spend millions on that water company. Have our water bills gone down? Mine hasn't.
Why don't we try SAVING money for a change. Pay our bills, get the island in the black and STOP spending money we don't have.
Just a thought.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Why do you feel that people should stop spending?

When its someone else's money and takes away from someone's elses enjoyment of what they retired here for, why should they care?

When there are people who feel that their thoughts of improvement is best for everyone else, and tax dollars are available, there will be spending for far more than what is truly needed.

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