Marco Island City Council fleshes out community center capital project for Mackle Park

This architectural rendering was available for review at Marco Island’s City Council Monday to show Phase One of a proposed Mackle Park community center.

This architectural rendering was available for review at Marco Island’s City Council Monday to show Phase One of a proposed Mackle Park community center.

A full house greets Marco Island’s City Council Monday as discussion of a new community center at Mackle Park gets underway. Discussion was temporarily halted to add chairs to the outer room to accommodate the overflowing crowd. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

A full house greets Marco Island’s City Council Monday as discussion of a new community center at Mackle Park gets underway. Discussion was temporarily halted to add chairs to the outer room to accommodate the overflowing crowd. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— The blueprint for a new building at Mackle Park gave Marco Island City Councilors a lot to chew on Monday.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department unveiled a new concept for Mackle Park’s community center. Originally, the center adopted in the park’s 2005 Master Plan was a two-story, 20,000-square-foot building costing $4.9 million. The new plan could cost less and be completed in two phases.

Phase One would replace the existing 1987 center with a single-story, 16,800-square-foot building for $3.3 million. The new building would include five meeting rooms, an adult game room, a larger multi-purpose room and a teen-youth center.

An 11,570-square-foot indoor gymnasium would be added in the second phase for a cost of $895,000. The 28,370-square-foot completed building would cost $4.2 million.

Bryan Milk, Community Affairs Director, said costs were lower than the 2005 projection because interest rates and material costs were lower. His staff also offered plans for financing through partnerships and cost recovery through increased program fees. Increased space in the new center would allow increased program and use fees, Milk said.

Jessica Pierce and Sophia Kelley from the Magic cheerleading team tell Marco Island City Council Monday how important a new center would be for practicing. The team took first place in its last two competitions. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jessica Pierce and Sophia Kelley from the Magic cheerleading team tell Marco Island City Council Monday how important a new center would be for practicing. The team took first place in its last two competitions. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Tim Pinter, public works director, confirmed repairs to the existing center are too numerous to make the building hurricane proof. To pull a permit for the extensive work that must be done would require a knockdown, he said.

Alex Galiana, recreation supervisor, presented a private-public partnership or P3 to fund the new center. With P3 funding, an investor pays for construction taking the building to turnkey condition; and then leases it back to the city. That lease must be paid back over a negotiated period.

Two other suggestions for funding included the city covering the cost or using conduit financing. Of the three, P3 funding was considered the most expensive.

Councilor Larry Honig asked how much incremental revenue would be raised using the space provided in Phase One. In 2012, the center’s one room netted $6,000. Galiana projected the six new rooms and additional programs would net revenues of $86,000 annually. Councilor Larry Magel felt that projection was too high.

In public comment, Richard McGuiness said he could not afford more taxes. He suggested a new addition and renovations rather than a new building would solve the problem.

“This is supposed to be a paradise island, but it seems like it’s fantasyland,” he said. “There are no federal funds available. All the additional renovations were done with matching funds. We don’t have any matching funds.”

The Magic cheerleading team attends en masse Marco Island’s City Council meeting Monday to support building a new community center at Mackle Park. The team practices at the park. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

The Magic cheerleading team attends en masse Marco Island’s City Council meeting Monday to support building a new community center at Mackle Park. The team practices at the park. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Deloris Segal, president of the Friends of the Library, suggested council jump on the chance to build the new community center while construction costs are down. The community needs to see council back the center, she said.

Dick Shanahan, speaking on behalf of the Greater Marco YMCA, said the Y would support the new community center. The Y also plans to build a new building, he said, because the Y’s current facility is overcrowded.

West Blackwell, a 23-year resident and chairman of the Island County Club Charitable Foundation, said his charity saw the community center as a needed facility. The charitable group raised $17,000 for the center and will continue to support it, he said.

Dick Adams, left, and Ruth McCann of the Marco Island Civic Association present a check for $4,200 to Marco Island’s City Council Chairman Joe Batte Monday to help fund July 4th fireworks. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Dick Adams, left, and Ruth McCann of the Marco Island Civic Association present a check for $4,200 to Marco Island’s City Council Chairman Joe Batte Monday to help fund July 4th fireworks. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Beverly Trotter read an e-mail from her sister who could not attend. The email suggested giving the issue to the residents through a binding referendum. The email concluded that a referendum would settle the issue once and for all.

Council asked city staff to work up better financials on the new center’s income projections and expenses for the March 27 council workshop when discussion will be continued.

In other city business, a short-term note for $500,000 to assist Hideaway Beach’s renourishment program was approved, 6-0. Interest on the note was set at 2.5 percent. The Hideaway Beach Tax District will save about $30,000 in origination fees by borrowing from the city. The note requires repayment by Feb. 1, 2014. Councilor Chuck Kiester was absent from the meeting.

The city also approved a resolution authorizing a six month extension on a line of credit from Bank of America in an amount not to exceed $3.09 million to cover debt service on Septic Tank Replacement Program districts. The resolution passed unanimously.

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Comments » 8

1Paradiselost writes:

The more I look at the plans, the more it looks like a school to me?

Why would we want to build a school, and for who?

ajm3s writes:

What I do not understand, the folks that wanted a dog park raised more than $50K, vs the $20K the folks (P&R Foundation) + $17K Island CC donation that want an expanded community center. Note: the dog park was a $50K project and the community center is $4.3M. So by my math, I would have expected complete funding by the foundation? Or at least more than the dog folks in convincing the park haters of their commitment.

Am I missing something? And to claim this expansion is for Marco Island residents is quite a stretch, considering the make-up of Tommy Barfield Middle School and visitors and programming.

Why are we wrestling over a community center, when the big need is Smokehouse Bay bridge. I guess we have lost our way, AGAIN!

And to 1P, I believe it is intended (wink, wink) for the school, but surprisingly I did not see Ms. Watt at the podium, however, the program leaders were in full uniform.

The Y was represented but was very careful not to ruffle any feathers. This is a time to fly high and wide but we live in a real world, where projects are promoted on needs and quite frankly, if you stack the programing list with every conceivable learning program, I guess you can re-qualify it as a learning institution. If fact, the city is turning away programs due to limited space. WOW! All that revenue loss!

I was hoping the city manager was going to rescue Mr. Galiana during his presentation, but I believe Mr. Riviere was just as convinced of his revenue projections.

It was painful to watch, and Mr. Honig and Mr. Magel were trying their best to dissuade Mr. Galiana from promoting the revenue argument. Mr. Sacher had to instruct the crowd as to the gross misrepresentation; but Mr. Galiana was convinced, he could justify his tables. It was truly sad.

I believe Mr. Milk could have done better, but against a pro like Mr. Murphy for the fire boat, it is quite a hurdle.

All I may suggest is send it to a referendum, and have the city propose the best plan based on need only, and quit shooting for the moon. They must have been optimistic after seeing Mr. Murphy convince both past and current council that a $400K fire boat was the best solution to maintaining water rescue operations, in light of the crafts in outlying communities and county.

I will say this in defense of Mr. Milk, on my list of city requests, a $400K fire boat would have lower standing, than addressing the needs of the community center. Please address your needs!!!!!

marcofriend writes:

Marco Island does need a new facility at Mackle Park. What they don't need is the grandiose project that was presented. Add to the issue that the residents are tired of City Council making decisions for the "good" of the people. The STRP is too fresh in many peoples minds and it has put a huge financial burden on so very many people. Add to that, there are many seawalls that need replacement and the homeowners will be paying for this important need. Lastly, we have a new $11,000,000 bridge that will be built shortly.
If you priortize the needs, the Mackle Park Taj Mahal will just have to wait. Of course the residents on Marco could prove me wrong and I will be happy to go with the majority.

PUT THIS UP AS A BINDING REFERENDUM - just as it was supposed to be and the people will have their voice heard!

lauralbi1 writes:

Referendum is the way to go here. But, as suggested, some different alternatives need to be presented and discussed. A new Center will never generate the needed revenue, so we need to look at a smaller OPTION, maybe with more configuration flexibility for revenue generation.

Maybe with the addition of kitchen facilities, the Center could be rented for Weddings and such. Anything to defer the cost away from taxpayers.

But it should be put to a Public vote.

Ed Issler

WizeOlMarco writes:

Marco Island community's center is the crescent beach.

ajm3s writes:

in response to WizeOlMarco:

Marco Island community's center is the crescent beach.

Excellent!

OldMarcoMan writes:

This is SO s----- I cant even come up with a Smart bottom comment.
Im so flabbergasted I even agree with Ed Issler!

deltarome writes:

Why is it that the city is loaning unsecured money to private home owners? Oh, I forgot councilor Magel lives there..

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