Letter to the Editor: The dynamics of the new Mackle Park community center

While our City Council winds-up its deliberations over the construction of a new multi-million dollar center at Mackle Park, ‘We the People’ are still waiting to hear what community offerings and dedicated spaces should embellish this new Parks & Recreation Department’s flagship.

What comprehensive recreational-sports-leisure-pastime-wellness-education opportunities should our new center offer taxpayers, their guests and paying visitors at Mackle Park and, especially, elsewhere throughout our diverse city? Obviously, the dynamics of Marco Island should deny the request for a behemoth community center confined to a single site. Shouldn’t our City Council now be thinking outside their traditional boxes of staff recommendations and vested interest suggestions from single-minded cronies?

Here’s a list of tentative considerations that should be thoroughly discussed publicly prior to any multi-million dollar commitment now pending before our City Council:

1. With more than 70 coffee shops, diners, dives, drive-ins and dining rooms of all sizes and styles on Marco Island, why can’t they be scheduled as sites for cooking classes, public service lunches and dinners and social gatherings, and other scheduled culinary-cuisine efforts and group food services?

2. Can’t our dozen or so churches and religious centers be used for an array of group activities during off hours?

3. Why are our four public-private educational sites called schools not utilized for a host of community-wide events after regular hours, on weekends and during summers?

4. Should’t our nine hotels be expected to provide group spaces and sites for a host of community-wide center activities?

5. Why aren’t our increasing arrays of empty store fronts and vacant commercial sites leased to facilitate expanded group activities throughout the community? (Re: Success of Marco Stage Players’ Town Center site!).

Of course, leases and scheduling for the above listed alternatives throughout the community will require additional funding provided by users and/or the public coffers. Thus, let’s calculate, compare, consider and conclude what are the better public investments/expenditures as we contemplate the desirable expansion of our Parks & Recreation offerings today. That’s what ‘We the People’ expect from good government policies and sound government financial decisions.

Sayre Uhler

Marco Island

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