MAILBAG: Charles Lamb, Russ Colombo, Dawn Kuhn
Last chance to get Veterans Park right
Please complete the survey below. In the past several months, we’ve heard a lot about the 2015 MICA survey in relation to Veterans’ Community Park. Here were the two questions and the results:
1) Veterans’ Park should continue to remain an open space: 82 percent (2,132 respondents);
2) Veterans’ Park should be developed with additional permanent structures: 17 percent (442 respondents).
Survey questionnaires were sent in May to all members of MICA, who are property owners and annual renters. Results were tabulated and shared, including all the comments, with the Marco Island City Council in August. There were 2,600 respondents. Membership usually represent at least two people – for example, a husband and wife are included on one membership and they received one survey and cast one vote.
Some members of the city council also stated that the survey was “over 120” days old, and questioned its validity.” The MICA survey became the problem when it did not support what PRAC, and the majority of the council wanted to do with Veterans’ Community Park.
Per direction from city council, PRAC has had on its monthly agenda a discussion on the future of Veterans Park. A workshop has been scheduled for Dec. 1 to solicit input from island residents. In addition, PRAC, per the direction of city council, will be sending out its own survey on Veterans’ Community Park. The survey will be part of the utilities invoice for January, 2016.
A group of Marco Island’s registered voters and property owners prepared the following comprehensive survey questionnaires. We urge all residents of Marco Island to complete this brief survey and e-mail your responses directly to your city councilors at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP. Feel free to add your comments to your selections. Your voice is very important on this issue! Last chance to get our park right!
Please select at least two items from below:
1) Veterans Community Park is to remain an open space (fine the way it is):
2) 10,500 square feet 3-in-1, single multi-use building at $7.5 million: (200-seat performing arts/meeting room combo; 4,500 square-foot patio & outdoor stage); funding: bond 10-15 years or state revolving loan.
3) 3,500 square-foot bandshell and bathroom facilities at $1.5 million. Funding: FY-17 budget;
4) Scrap the 2009 Veterans’ Park Master Plan and start from scratch;
5) Update 2009 Veterans’ Park Master Plan;
6) To eliminate the need for item No. 2 (multi-use building) add 4,000 square foot to Mackle Park at $1.5 million. Funding: Bond 10-15 years or state revolving loan.
Kudos to Amadeo Petricca
A recent Letter to the editor from city council member Amadeo Petricca (Sun Times, Nov. 19 and online) offered the reader a clear-eyed example of the disparities that exist in Marco Island’s utility rate structure.
Petricca’s letter was simple and straightforward, so much so that even an eighth grader could understand and grasp the inequality that exists in our water and waste rates, something that highly paid professional “consultants” seemingly try to avoid.
Every once in a while, a city councilor merits kudos instead of criticism. For his honest and direct assessment, totally devoid of the usual Marco political nonsense, councilor Petricca earned my appreciation and applause ... and, I believe, certainly deserves yours. Kudos, sir!
Develop Veterans Park
Council member Victor Rios is quoted as saying the upcoming workshop planned for Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. by PRAC is “a waste of time. It is clear the citizens of Marco Island do not want any further development on that site.”
That statement could not be further from the truth. I can assure you that when we voted almost 12 years ago to spend almost $10 million dollars for a piece of prime property in the heart of Marco Island we voted for a park to be developed. With that in mind we hired architect’s and consultants and the PRAC committee and citizens spent many hours coming up with the Final Master Plan as depicted starting on page 21 of the 2009 Veterans’ Community Park Master Plan Report that can be downloaded from the city of Marco Island website.
We deserve more than a field of grass, a concrete circle, portable potties and rectangle of ugly blacktop. It is time to start implementing Phase 2 (page 34) and providing the waterfront promenade (especially now that the Herb Savage Bridge is almost complete), the peripheral parking which will add over 20 more spaces that we have now and get rid of the ugly blacktop covering potential green space and build the acoustically designed band shell that could also accommodate restrooms and a concession stand instead of the stand alone structure.
The final plan even suggest ways of paying for these improvements, including bonds, grants, private donations, additional tax revenue from the increase in our tax base and mitigation funds among them. Can we use the tourist tax as tourist will be visiting the park? According to Rick Medwedeff, the Marco Marriott has contributed $3 million dollars to the city coffers just this year in permits and impact fees. Can the impact fees be used for this park? Also the city can borrow money at 1.3 percent. We should be taking advantage of this very favorable interest rate.
It is time. The citizens who voted for and are paying for this park deserve the opportunity to see it developed into a first class recreational facility to be enjoyed by all and future generations.