MARCO ISLAND — Seeing the size and brightness of the first flag for Marco Island’s 50-foot flagpole at the foot of the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge brought some misty eyes to members of the city’s Big Flag Committee on Wednesday.
“Oh my God, oh my God, it’s beautiful,” said committee member Lou Sutera.
The moment brought smiles of appreciation from Dave Rice, committee chairman, Keith Dameron, Dick Shanahan, Litha Berger and city staff. The committee plans to have its official flag raising ceremony on Memorial Day, May 28.
On hand to view the unfurling was Lt. Col. Bill Howey, a Hideaway Beach resident, who presented the committee with $4,900 in private donations from members of his gated community. Howey said he will continue collecting donations from his neighbors and friends until May 1.
To date, the committee raised $17,600, Dameron said. Most of that money has been earmarked for construction of the site and lighting for the flag. The committee had hoped to raise the flag after the pole was installed, anticipating adding lights at a later date. After checking with official etiquette rules, Dameron told the committee illumination would be required to fly the flag after dark.
Greg Schneider of Condee Cooling and Electric Company presented a proposal to install two 1,000-watt halide lights with shrouds at the base of the flagpole for $8,459. The shrouds would be custom made and all electric connections included in the cost.
City Council Chairman Larry Magel was present at the meeting and voiced concerns over the amount of light and its interference with traffic traveling over the Jolley Bridge. Schneider said he had worked on a site where an up-lit flag was close to a high-rise condominium.
No light was allowed to be seen when looking down from upper floors, he said. Schneider was able to eliminate light trespass through the use of shrouds and felt he could do the same close to the bridge.
“There’s no such thing as too much light for the American flag,” Schneider said.
If necessary, he could add a secondary shroud that would also enhance the attractiveness of the site by creating a landscape buffer. Shrouds can be designed to be self cleaning, removing dirt and insects from light bulbs when it rains, he said.
The committee agreed it would purchase a second shroud if needed to keep light from interfering with vehicular traffic.
Committee members discussed creating a contingency fund for future support of the flag, flagpole and emergency needs. All future costs for the project will be borne by private donations. No city funds have been spent on the flag project. The committee decided to determine the contingency fund amount at a future meeting.
Donations to the Big Flag Committee can be made payable to City of Marco Island Big Flag and mailed to City of Marco Island, 50 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL 34145, Attention: Donna Senica. All donations are fully tax deductible.
The committee scheduled a workshop at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, to discuss plans for the first flag raising ceremony. Location for the meeting will be determined at a later date.