Resolution and resolutions: Marco Island leaders share their plans and predictions for the year ahead

Fist of determined farmer against the sky

Photo by Jupiterimages, (C) 2008 Jupiterimages

Fist of determined farmer against the sky

— City Council Chairman Ken Honecker said he does not make New Year’s resolutions.

But what he is looking for, and what Marco Island needs in the new year, is just that resolution, on some of the issues facing the city. The Smokehouse Bay Bridge is still in need of repair or replacement, the city does not have a permanent city manager, the fate of the Mackle Park expansion remains unknown, and the Marriott has yet to apply for permits and variances for their proposed expansion.

“All I want for New Year’s is a city manager,” said Honecker. “That’s what I want. In addition to the manager, I think the big three issues coming up are Mackle Park building or not, the Smokehouse Bay Bridge and the fire station. Those will resolve one way or another.”

The council was presented this fall with a “three million-ish guesstimated price tag, an unfunded project” said Honecker, for renovations to the main fire station next to City Hall. The question of a new activity center for Mackle Park, now redesigned at significantly lower cost, should be put to a referendum, he said, “but we are not allowed to put any referendum on the November ballot.”

Either the question must be added to the August primary ballot, or sent out for a standalone mailing, which would also be difficult to get done during the season.

“Time is running out. We have to advertise it for so long, and we don’t tend to move quickly.” On the nettlesome question of replacing former City Manager Jim Riviere, though, “we hope to have that done in January,” said Honecker. He added these “are my opinions, not the City Council as a whole.”

Marco Island’s voice on the Collier County Commission is Commissioner Donna Fiala. Beaches and airports, she said, are two important issues that will be taken up by county government on Marco’s behalf this year.

“We’re going to try and finish the Tigertail Beach improvements, including the additional bathroom by the last boardwalk, and seeking permitting for a second,” she said. “We’re hoping to attract more people who come over the bridge to Tigertail, and take the strain off South Beach. That’s a major goal.”

Donna Fiala

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Donna Fiala

Ken Honecker

Ken Honecker

And the runway at the Marco Island Executive will be completely resurfaced beginning in January, requiring the closing of the airport “for about two months, if all goes well. We’ve made arrangements with Naples Airport for the pilots who would normally land at Marco, and they’re even charging Marco Island rates our landing fees are a lot less,” said Fiala.

On a personal note, she said, “It doesn’t sound exciting, but I want to start exercising it’s about time.”

Jane Watt, chairman of the Board of Directors of Marco Island Academy, the island’s new charter high school, is relentlessly upbeat looking ahead, as she was while overcoming prohibitive odds to make the school a reality.

“I predict that Marco Island Academy will have its best year yet,” she said. “We have an incredible group of teachers, a powerful leadership team including administration, governing board, and national advisory board members, and wonderful parent and community volunteers with a shared mission who are dedicated to the students.”

Watt said she wants to see those in the younger generation doing more to help others.

“One resolution I have for this year is to teach the students at MIA (and my own children too) the importance of giving back to their family and community. One of the greatest joys in my life has been to bring a high school to the community I love. I want the students to learn how good it feels to do something for someone else without expecting anything in return.

“My wish is that everyone would read at least one book this year on a subject that they don’t understand in order to gain deeper insight,” she said. “My wish relates to one of my favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’”

Sandi Riedemann, executive director of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, has her finger on the commercial pulse of the island. From a business and real estate point of view and to a large extent, the business of the island is real estate, as the two are inextricably entwined she sees a lot of blue sky ahead in 2014.

“I predict that Marco Island will have a wonderful tourist season, as well as a great year for real estate,” said Riedemann, echoing the largely positive assessments of the business climate for our area.

“I wish everyone a healthy, prosperous, and joyous New Year.” For herself individually, Riedemann said she hopes to model characteristics everyone could use more of in their lives.

Sandi Riedemann

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Sandi Riedemann

Jane Watt

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Jane Watt

“My New Year’s resolution is to try and have a little more patience and tolerance of others,” she said.

The positive forecast for local real estate finds an echo in the sentiments of Jim Prange, longtime Marco realtor at the Premier-Sotheby’s office at the Esplanade, based on the underlying value of the lifestyle provided by the product Marco Island agents are selling.

“I think Marco Island will continue to be recognized as a top destination resort and a great environment to raise a family,” he said. His resolutions are to “balance family, work and exercise, and to play Christmas music ... all year! To be thankful daily for all my blessings.”

He wishes, said Prange, that Christmas could be everyday, and that “those hurting, stop hurting.”

Of course, we’re all going to eat better, which generally means eat less, and get to the gym and exercise more. This is why your true hardcore gym rats hate the first three weeks of January, when all of a sudden, the competition to get on the elliptical machine gets tough.

But with any luck, and the “exercise” of some governmental leadership, Marco Island will get some resolution this new year.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 9

RayPray writes:

Jane Watt...is relentlessly upbeat....

“best year yet"

"incredible group of teachers"

"powerful leadership team"

"shared mission"

"importance of giving back"

"good it feels to do something for someone else"

>>> What pompous pullulation of platitudes!

“My wish is that everyone would read at least one book...on a subject that they don’t understand in order to gain deeper insight,”

>>> How about "everyone would" ~ "he or she"? Everyone being singular. World Klass Institution of Learning?

>>> How about: "The Prideful Soul's Guide to Humility" by Thomas A. Jones and Michael Fonte?

http://www.amazon.com/Prideful-Souls-...

Konfuzius writes:

“I predict that Marco Island will have a wonderful tourist season, as well as a great year for real estate,” said Riedemann, echoing the largely positive assessments of the business climate for our area.

I hope this prediction will be never reality!
It means nothing else than f..k our paradise island.
Happy New Year!

RayPray writes:

"Fist of determined farmer against the sky"

The extremity from which of our unfaltering City Counselors is portrayed in this galvanizing photo?

Konfuzius writes:

in response to RayPray:

"Fist of determined farmer against the sky"

The extremity from which of our unfaltering City Counselors is portrayed in this galvanizing photo?

Waldi and Gibbon are retired!

OldMarcoMan writes:

Is THAT woman really that clueless? Closing the Airport for the three busiest months of the year?
I don't own an Airplane but I know two people who do and they commute a couple of times a month to Marco. Plus I know a couple of guys who work out there and I know the service of the Civil Air Patrol
Is it a big deal to drive to Marco from Naples? No not realy.
Is it a reason to not come to Marco , maybe.
First they mess up the Terminal now the runway, a what point does a pilot just say Ill just move to Naples.
Silly? Rich folks do silly stuff all the time, like spend millions on houses in Marco.

marco826 writes:

“All I want for New Year’s is a city manager,” said Honecker.
Mr. Honecker, what I want for New Year's is a city government run with prudence and fiscal responsibility. One that has ethical standards which puts aside ego driven agenda's. Am I asking too much? I think yes, sadly. Its unfortunate to think how this City Manager search was bungled. It doesn't leave a lot of room for confidence going forward. You may only want a city manager but the people of Marco want a lot more starting with competence.

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

It certainly seems that Councilor Honecker is of the opinion that the Mackle Park Community Center is the only one of the three big issues we face, in which the outcome is questionable, and should be brought to referendum. The other two big issues are the Smokehouse Bay Bridge and the fire station expansion. Mister Honecker doesn't indicate in his comments that they are questionable ("or not") as he did for the Community Center. Does that mean that our City Council has once again pre-determined the fate of our tax dollars and fees that will be raised to pay for these projects? I reiterate - anything that costs more than a million dollars should be decided by referendum! And, as Mister Honecker has repeatedly mentioned, we can have FREE referenda in the August primarys.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to harrisbill239#279036:

It certainly seems that Councilor Honecker is of the opinion that the Mackle Park Community Center is the only one of the three big issues we face, in which the outcome is questionable, and should be brought to referendum. The other two big issues are the Smokehouse Bay Bridge and the fire station expansion. Mister Honecker doesn't indicate in his comments that they are questionable ("or not") as he did for the Community Center. Does that mean that our City Council has once again pre-determined the fate of our tax dollars and fees that will be raised to pay for these projects? I reiterate - anything that costs more than a million dollars should be decided by referendum! And, as Mister Honecker has repeatedly mentioned, we can have FREE referenda in the August primarys.

Good idea! Put Marriott on. it is another decision of the citizen.

Karma1776 writes:

I never thought I would say it but ya gotta admire how directors such as Milk and Murphy have EARNED respect from other city employees as well as the citizens of this community. Other directors like Hunter and "wanna-be" directors like Baer attempt to threaten and intimidate people into respecting them. It doesn't work after you leave the big pond of corruption in Collier County and urine into the small pool of corruption within the MIPD. Stealing money as a ghost employee was simple when you are an elected official that can have the staff run the day-to-day operation in your absence but when there is nobody under you who is competent enough at MIPD to do that, you must show up to work! OR...if you're tired of faking it, while driving down the street with drool on your collar from having one to many strokes, maybe you can just hang it up and save the city some money... Since Bob Boone and his scandals, Roger Reinke cheating on his wife with the secretary, Thom Carr and his drunken escapades and now Hunter, the arrogant and egotistical stroke victim who wants everyone to believe that he is still a power lifter in high school...is that how your wife still sees you even though you graduated HS before she was born? Why would you have an affair on such a supportive mother and wife? Where is your moral compass? Why wont you answer the phone when your eldest daughter calls? Do you represent the city of Marco Island? Where does the hypocritical behavior end?

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