Government in the sunshine: Weeklong open house at Marco Island City Hall

Lance Shearer

Call it government in the sunshine. Marco Island city government is inviting all their residents to drop by and see how they operate. They say you can’t fight city hall, but they also say if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. City Hall doesn’t want to fight, and they do want you to join them.

As part of the statewide Florida City Government Week, proclaimed by Gov. Rick Scott, the City of Marco Island is hosting a week’s worth of activities aimed at helping the citizens of Marco Island get to know their government. Activities will be held all week, from Monday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 28, but the principal focus is when the city staff opens their doors for all visitors.

That comes on Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at City Hall. Residents are welcomed to come to the open parking lot area between City Hall itself, the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department at the corner of Bald Eagle Drive and San Marco Blvd., and the MIPD, which also holds the Fay Biles meeting room.

Plans were still being worked out as to exactly what will happen that afternoon, but a few specifics are known. There will be Sno-Cones, said Samantha Malloy of the city’s Parks & Recreation Departmetn. Per Public Works Director Tim Pinter, his department will show off several pieces of new equipment, which include a Grade-All, a $375,000 vehicle that grades – well, presumably everything, but certainly swales. They will also demo a new vac truck, and a heavy duty pickup truck, although that last is so new it might not be delivered in time for the open house.

Budget analyst Zack Simpson. The City of Marco Island is holding an open house Tuesday afternoon at City Hall, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Tours of City Hall itself will be available, to let people see where the work of government – your civil servants at work, all on your behalf – takes place. Since many people only make contact with their local government when they have a beef with it, or owe money, this is a chance to relate on a person-to-person level.

Many city departments will be participating on Tuesday, with tables set up outside, and showing folks their areas inside City Hall. The Building Department, Growth Management Dept., Finance Dept., Public Works, Water & Utilities, and Parks & Recreation Depts. will all have representatives and displays.

Some elements of city government are doing their own thing. The police and fire departments are hosting their own, separate open house on Friday, Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Police Capt. Dave Baer said that police vehicles on display will include their marine truck, beach vehicle, new patrol and supervisor vehicles, ATVs, and an amphibious Quad-Ski.

Accounting specialists Sandy Moore, left, and Marilyn Prigge work in the accounting department. The City of Marco Island is holding an open house Tuesday afternoon at City Hall, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Even if you think you know all about Marco’s city government, you are likely to find out something new, or meet someone whose work affects your life, although you never knew it. For instance, did you know City Hall was built in 1981, 18 years before Marco Island became a city?

The building spent the years until 2001, when the city bought it, as the headquarters or branch for a series of banks. Its pedigree explains one of the singular features of the edifice, which is a heavy-duty vault, complete with a solid steel door that would take massive force to penetrate. And the architect was none other than Marco stalwart and nonagenarian Herb Savage.

And do you know all of Marco Island’s city parks? Probably not.

Additional activities during the week include a workshop Monday for city committee members, going over orientation and ethics training, an iguana workshop Wednesday evening, and on Saturday, the annual Halloween Spooktacular event at Mackle Park.

On Tuesday morning, City Councilor Charlette Roman will speak to Tommie Barfield Elementary students, and on Thursday, City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni will speak to the seventh-grade civics students at Marco Island Charter Middle School. And a weeklong volunteer neighborhood cleanup will go on all week.

For more information, call City Hall at 239-389-5000, or go to the city’s website,