Sharing, togetherness and problem-solving: that's what the Goodland Civic Association (GCA) is all about, and these days the organization is trying to solve one big problem, the flooding of Goodland Drive.
Greg Bellos has served as president of the GCA for the past three years. The retired surgeon said he enjoys being president because — like his previous job — it's all about helping people, and right now the people of Goodland need some serious help.
'The flooding of Goodland Drive a risk to our residents,' Bello said. 'The road is gradually breaking down which means it gets more and more submerged each time it floods. It's a serious and ongoing problem.'
Marco Island's Public Works Director Timothy Pinter said there's two possible solutions — one long-term, one short-term — but neither one is a guaranteed success.
'A long-term solution would be elevating the road anywhere from one to two feet,' Pinter said, 'but that might not fix it, we don't know.'
A short-term, and cheaper, solution would be a mill and overlay job, Pinter said, which is when the top two inches of a road is stripped and then repaved. The process would fix any potholes and raise the road one to two inches, which might be enough to alleviate the problem.
Bello, however, said that would just make the problem 'prettier.'
'You can clean up a wound and put a protective bandage on it and it'll look like it's healing,' Bello said, 'but meanwhile an infection could be festering underneath and it'll just going to continue to grow and get worse until it's addressed.'
If an infection is never addressed, Bello said, it can have deadly consequences, and the same stands true for the flooding on Goodland Drive.
'If the road isn't fixed, we could have a situation where one of our residents needs emergency medical assistance but those vehicles aren't able to reach them because the road is too flooded,' Bello said.
As it stands now, not all of Goodland Drive floods when it rains, at least not according to the Department of Transportation.
'The Department of Transportation says that if one lane is passable, then a road isn't flooded,' Pinter said, 'so technically, parts of Goodland [Drive] aren't flooded. That's why part of this whole problem has to do with perspective, and no one can say for sure what the solution is.'
Pinter also said the solution ultimately depends on the discussions between the city and the county. Councilor Larry Honig advocated working with the county to find a solution at the June 6 city council meeting.
'The citizens of Goodland deserve a solution to the problem ... that's not an issue,' Honig said. 'The issue is; what is the solution?'
Whatever the solution may be, Bello said he hopes they find it soon.
'We just want what's right for us,' Bello said, 'and if we don't speak out, no one will.'
Goodland Civic Association at a glance
- GCA is the largest unified group of residents in Goodland; it has more than 200 members.
- It meets on the third Tuesday of each month.
- The group hosts two annual events: Spring Fling and the Holiday Bazaar. Spring Fling is a free picnic for members of the community and the Holiday Bazaar is a two-day craft fair featuring local vendors.
- GCA hosts a variety of fundraising events throughout the year, such as all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts and benefit concerts.
- It works closely with the Goodland Arts Alliance and helps promote its events.