Marco Island City Council postpones approval of plan for $8.8M project at Veterans' Park

Rendering of the bandshell to be constructed at Veterans' Community Park on Marco Island

Marco Island City Council postponed on Monday the approval of the plan for a $8.8 million project that includes building a 32-foot star-shaped bandshell at Veterans' Community Park.

City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni said councilors voted unanimously to continue the discussion on April 19 because the total amount that the city is expected to pay for the project was not available.

"City Council selected a construction manager at risk method so the citizens would know exactly how much the project was going to cost. And if there was any overruns in that cost, that would be (paid) by the contractor and not the taxpayers," Grifoni said Tuesday.

Councilor Erik Brechnitz said he was concerned the plan would have to be subsequently amended if the project's price turns out to be higher than originally thought.

"I frankly think this is not ready for prime time," Brechnitz said.

Councilor Claire Babrowski agreed.

"Why not wait a couple of weeks?" Babrowski said. 

Daniel Smith, director of community affairs of the city of Marco Island's growth management department, speaks to City Council on March 15, 2021.

The construction of the project, which also includes restrooms, improved parking, play areas and landscaping across nearly 11 acres, is expected to last 11 months, but the start date has not been determined, Timothy Pinter, public works director, said Monday in an email.

Marco resident Edgar "Ed" Issler said there needs to be more public participation in the decision-making process.

"There is no reason for the bandshell to be that large," Issler said.

Kristin Aiuto, who owns property near the park, said the project is bigger that what she would have hoped.

"I can't keep up with it," Aiuto said.

Brechnitz said there has been "significant public input" over the years.

"Parks and rec department begged people to come to these meetings," Brechnitz said.

On March 5, the Marco Island planning board approved the project's plan unanimously with conditions like vacating a section of the right-of-way to build the restrooms, shielding lights from nearby residents and expanding a turn-around on Joy Circle.

Renderings of the bandshell and bathroom facilities to be constructed at Veterans' Community Park on Marco Island

More:Marco Island planning board approves $8.8M project at Veterans' Park

In March 2020, City Council authorized a $168,223 contract to Manhattan Construction Company for construction management services.

In January 2020, the city incorporated the Marco Island Community Parks Foundation to raise funds for the city's parks, including their maintenance and capital improvements.

City Council approved a design services contract with the firm Kimley-Horn for approximately $595,000 in August 2019.

In March 2019, City Council approved the project's master plan.

City Council authorized a $100,000 contract with Kimley-Horn in March 2018 to update the project's original master plan approved in 2009. Kimley-Horn's original plan was not implemented amid the financial crisis affecting the U.S. and the project's hefty price tag of nearly $25 million.

In 2003, City Council authorized the issuance of a $10 million bond to purchase the land to be used for the park after residents voted in favor of it.

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