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In case you missed it: City Council creates non-profit to help fund Marco parks

The latest design update for Marco Island's Veterans' Community Park includes a 32-foot star-shaped bandshell.

The design was chosen from among a dozen different bandshells from around the nation, said Mark McLean from MHK Architecture & Planning during City Council's Jan. 21 meeting.

"(We) came to the conclusion that a conical star-shaped bandshell would be most appropriate for this park," McLean said. "The stage platform itself is also star-shaped to mimic the bandshell."

"It sits nicely with its back towards the waterway with a walkway behind it."

The park facilities will also include women and men's restrooms, a 'green room' for costume change, and maintenance and utility rooms, said James Pankonin, architect for Kimley-Horn & Associates.

"One of the things staff requested back in December [...] was both a maintenance room, so they can store a limited amount of equipment there to help maintain the park, [...] and then the utility room would be an area where they can access the plumbing," Pankonin said.

From September: Marco Island looking to sell naming rights to help fund Veterans Community Park

From August: Marco Island City Council approves scope of services for Veterans' Park consultant

Councilor Howard Reed asked the architects if four fixtures for each restroom were enough to accommodate a crowd of up to 2,000 people.

"Some group is performing, everybody is loving it, [...] then they hit an intermission," Reed said. "You got 2,000 people, some large percentage of them is heading to the restrooms."

"To my eye this is woefully inadequate."

Pankonin said the planned restrooms are comparable to the temporary ones that are currently on site.

"When you have the seafood festival, the farmer's market, you are bringing portable restrooms to supplement that," Pankonin said.

Councilor Charlette Roman said the city should consider adding air conditioning to the restrooms and the green room.

"If it's a hot-humid night, it's gonna be miserable," Roman said.

From March: Marco Island City Council approves Veterans' Community Park master plan

McLean said the restrooms would have exhaust vents. 

"The code mandates a certain air circulation within a space that is not an air-conditioned space," McLean said.

"When you are dealing with a public facility that doesn't have full-time, on-hand staff you can have someone that inadvertently props the door open, and that air conditioning is running all-day long, and you have created a mold environment for yourself." 

McLean said it would not be a problem to add air conditioning.

"It wouldn't be a cost obstacle, it would be more of a maintenance obstacle," McLean said. "I would agree that we should air-condition (the) green room and those restrooms if they are staying private."

Roman then spoke to other City Council members.

"I think we might be a penny wise and pound foolish [...] and I think we ought to address it as if this is going to last us 50 years [...]," Roman said.

Councilor Sam Young said air conditioning is not necessary for the restrooms.

"As long as it is ventilated and there is some air flow, I think that's all we need," Young said.

The advertisement for a construction manager was published on Jan. 1, Pankonin said.

"It is due back from interested parties on Feb. 6 with a final ranking on Feb. 12 and we anticipate bringing that for council approval on March 2," Pankonin said.

"Once they are on board we are going to be working with them hand in hand on 'constructability,' pricing issues and design."

Marco Island City Council approved in August the scope of services for the Veterans' Community Park consultant for approximately $595,000, the Eagle reported.

Kimley-Horn provides design, permitting, management and construction services in accordance with the park's master plan approved in March.

"Once (this) is completed, then we can move to construction and that will of course need to be funded," Jared Grifoni, City Council vice-chair, wrote to the Eagle at the time. "I have been in favor of using the one percent sales tax revenue to fully fund the build out which will not require raising city taxes at all." 

"I fully support using a portion of our share of the one percent sales tax increment," Councilor Larry Honig previously wrote. "The community has waited for about a decade to get moving on this project. 

Earlier this month, City Council approved a resolution creating a non-profit to help fund city-owned parks, the Eagle reported.

The Marco Island Community Parks Foundation's board will consist of seven voting members including six who will be appointed by City Council, chairperson Erik Brechnitz said at the time.

The remaining member of the board will automatically be the chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Committee. 

"The people that are going to be on this board are people who can raise money and [...] have experience in developing activities," Brechnitz said.

City Council approved the resolution 6-1 with the opposing vote of councilor Sam Young.

The foundation will offer people the opportunity to make tax-free donations for the renovation of Veterans' Community Park, Brechnitz said during a City Council meeting in December.

"It allows the Parks and Rec committee to go out and solicit large donations," Brechnitz said. "We have no other way to collect those donations."

Brechnitz said it will also allow donors to make tax-free gifts from an IRA.

The non-profit will be responsible for raising funds for city parks maintenance, capital improvements and technological and safety enhancements, according to the articles of incorporation.

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