New Mackle Park Community Center heads for open workshop; lightning detection begins Monday

During Tuesday’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting, Dolores Siegel, right, asks if plans to market the New Mackle Park Community Center include preparing for a referendum. To Siegel’s left are Litha Berger and Dr. Gerald Swiacki. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During Tuesday’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting, Dolores Siegel, right, asks if plans to market the New Mackle Park Community Center include preparing for a referendum. To Siegel’s left are Litha Berger and Dr. Gerald Swiacki. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island City Councilor Larry Sacher weighs in on reason why the public might not understand the need for a new build at Mackle Park. Sacher attended a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island City Councilor Larry Sacher weighs in on reason why the public might not understand the need for a new build at Mackle Park. Sacher attended a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island’s Park and Recreation Advisory Committee welcomed newly appointed member Mike Levine on Tuesday. After the meeting, Levine said he had an extensive background in community recreation projects. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island’s Park and Recreation Advisory Committee welcomed newly appointed member Mike Levine on Tuesday. After the meeting, Levine said he had an extensive background in community recreation projects. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Alex Galiana, Marco Island’s park supervisor, explains to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday how a new alert system for lightning detection will work. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Alex Galiana, Marco Island’s park supervisor, explains to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday how a new alert system for lightning detection will work. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

This alarm at Mackle Park is part of a lightning detection system purchased by the city. Alex Galiana told the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday that the alarm will be active starting Monday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

This alarm at Mackle Park is part of a lightning detection system purchased by the city. Alex Galiana told the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday that the alarm will be active starting Monday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Alex Galiana, Marco Island’s park supervisor, standing next to Mackle Park's  lightning detection system purchased by the city. Submitted

Alex Galiana, Marco Island’s park supervisor, standing next to Mackle Park's lightning detection system purchased by the city. Submitted

— Recent surveys predict Marco Island residents are not ready to fund a new community center at Mackle Park. On Tuesday, the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee remained undaunted.

The polls are getting closer to accepting the idea, Community Affairs Director Bryan Milk told the committee.

City Councilor Larry Sacher, who attended the meeting as a member of the public, agreed more people seem interested in supporting a new building but spending money stands in the way.

“Our community is tired of hearing about the building,” Sacher said. “The ‘no’ votes are not coming from people with children. They’re from those without children.”

Sacher attributed the lack of public support to misconceptions about who the park serves and what it contributes to the community. Council did not include funds for the new building in its 2014 budget.

The public continually has asked for a referendum on the issue, Linda Turner, a public speaker, told the committee. She pointed to three or four city councilors who would not be in favor of budgeting funds for the project until the community was in agreement.

“I’ve been fearful of a referendum,” Milk said. “I want to get to where the public sees the need and what a new center could do for them.”

Milk said he had done everything to assuage councilors and the public. That included reducing the size and cost of the building and planning construction in phases. He also worked out a way to keep programs running throughout construction.

Committee member Litha Berger felt education on the center’s current and potential use was key to public opinion.

“I didn’t know what goes on there until I joined this committee,” Berger admitted. “All the stuff that goes on is incredible.”

As the committee brainstormed action plans, it became clear a session devoted to public outreach would better focus next steps. A workshop open to the public was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the Community Room.

Lightning detection installed

Alex Galiana, park supervisor, announced the city’s new lightning detection system designed by Thor Guard will go live on Monday, Oct. 21. The city spent $19,000 for the initial installation as Phase 1. The completed project will cost approximately $27,000.

The first phase included a detection hub at City Hall and a remote warning system next to Mackle Park’s soccer fields. The hub will detect electricity in the air within a two-mile radius from the city’s center; and then, remotely set off a 15-second siren blast at the park.

The blast will be followed by a strobe, pulsing until three short blasts of five seconds each sound the “all clear.” The system will be active from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The 2-mile detection area includes Winterberry Park, Veterans’ Community Park, Marco Island Academy and Residents’ Beach; however, remote sirens would need to be placed at each location to give warning. The system can be set to detect atmospheric static up to 10 miles from its center.

A remote warning system costs approximately $5,000.

“I’d like to see alarms at both Winterberry Park and Veterans’ Community Park,” said Greg West, committee chairman. Winterberry Park is used almost continually for softball, baseball, soccer and football.

The committee also asked if a strobe could be placed at the far end of Mackle Park to augment the siren and alert people walking around the lake or using the dog park. There was concern that money for Phase 2 may not have been reserved in the city’s 2014 budget.

Galiana said he understood the Marco Island Civic Association board approved $5,000 for a remote warning system to tie into the city’s hub for Residents’ Beach.

Park staff said they would not actively force people to take shelter during an alarm but would rely on the good sense of people using the park.

“We’re providing a warning but individuals will be responsible to leave,” Galiana said. “Coaches have been diligent, and I don’t have any question that organized sports will get off the fields.”

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 6

marco97 writes:

The lightning warning system sounds good as long as it does not go off when it is obvious that there is lightning in the area. If we are having one of our frequent thunderstorms we do not need a siren to tell us we could be in danger and it is doubtful any one would be using the park at that time. However if it can warn people when there is on sign of lightning anywhere that would be great. Just not sure from this article how it works.

MarcoCitizen writes:

Is there nothing else the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee has to do besides mounting a PR campaign to sell us an unnecessary and unwanted Mackle Park facility? Get these guys something else to do that we do want or suspend the committee meetings until something comes up.
Let's take those City sponsored signs down telling us to speak out unless the City will listen to what we are saying - which is NO.

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to MarcoCitizen:

Is there nothing else the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee has to do besides mounting a PR campaign to sell us an unnecessary and unwanted Mackle Park facility? Get these guys something else to do that we do want or suspend the committee meetings until something comes up.
Let's take those City sponsored signs down telling us to speak out unless the City will listen to what we are saying - which is NO.

I am a full time resident and part of this community. I vote YES. If you're not in favor of it, don't go there when it eventually arrives. The cost per HH is small and the value huge. Don't presume that just your vote represents "the entire community".

ajm3s writes:

I must be the most thick headed but I cannot understand why some emphasize the word "community", but if some are not of like mind, they are not part of the community. Is that how community is defined? Perhaps, the 17th century puritanical settlements are more in keeping with that view.

If you are not part of a consensus, some folks that oppose your position will cast you out......out of the community...

As for myself, its comes down to what do I want my local government to provide the community....

As an example, is pilates going to be the next class for the expansion of a community center requiring government sponsorship? Essentially, expansion of programs that address the wants of a few for the many?

So who are the many? A referendum will sort that out, for there are many reasons why some want and why some want not.

Now, that is what I call a community...diversity of mind.

captnjimbo writes:

I know many residents think of Marco Island as a retirement village. However the demographics are changing. We have restaurants, teachers, technicians, first responders, doctors, lawyers, servers, cooks, plumbers, electricians, builders, auto mechanics, marine mechanics, executives, sales reps, real estate experts, hotel managers, preachers, musicians...it goes on and on. Even people that used to need to be at headquarters up north now live on Marco and travel. I believe we have a thousand kids in the three major schools here.

Even though I am one of the "old-timers" Marco has the needs of a small sized city and while many residents head north for 8 months, many only have one home and it is on beautiful Marco Island. This is not your grandfather's Island exclusively anymore. Not looking for an argument...just an observation.

marcofriend writes:

in response to ajm3s:

I must be the most thick headed but I cannot understand why some emphasize the word "community", but if some are not of like mind, they are not part of the community. Is that how community is defined? Perhaps, the 17th century puritanical settlements are more in keeping with that view.

If you are not part of a consensus, some folks that oppose your position will cast you out......out of the community...

As for myself, its comes down to what do I want my local government to provide the community....

As an example, is pilates going to be the next class for the expansion of a community center requiring government sponsorship? Essentially, expansion of programs that address the wants of a few for the many?

So who are the many? A referendum will sort that out, for there are many reasons why some want and why some want not.

Now, that is what I call a community...diversity of mind.

You are "right on" with your statements. I know that 3 of the council members were elected with a platform of being for a referendum. Next August this issue could be put on a referendum (it is a primary election) at no cost to the City. Let's truly find out what the residents really want.
We need ID to identify Marco Island residents/owners so that programs and expenses can be charged to those that use the park and are not residents/owners on the island. The county gives a huge amount of money to the City of Naples for the use of their parks. All we do is send the county our money and get nothing in return (for parks).

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features