Letters to the Editor, April 6

Marco Eagle

Why the Mulligan (do over)

On June 15, 2009, the Veteran’s Community Park master plan was officially released to the Marco Island citizens. I suggest that each and every one of you that have not had the opportunity to read and study this plan take the time to do so now.  The plan can be accessed at http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=16152 . 

You will see that the process started in October of 2008 and was spearheaded by the same architectural firm of Kimly Horn.

The Veteran’s Park Committee responsible for that 2009 master plan was a 17 member committee made up of veterans, Chamber members, MICA members, and representatives of the community. There were many, many meetings (over a one-year period) and when the concept was ready, all elements of the park were put on display, repeated times and multiple locations, for the community to provide comments and input. The park design was changed many times as a result of this feedback. More importantly, the city spent almost $100,000 in fees to Kimly Horn for all of their assistance in the design and presentation process.

Editorial cartoon

 This was the most vetted community effort that has taken place in the history of Marco Island. The final plan is the culmination of inputs from everyone! Now, for some reason, a scope of work and funding has been approved by City Council to the same firm of Kimly Horn to “revise” or “fine tune” the master plan.  The problem is that the new scope of work does not, I repeat does not include a band shell/amphitheatre, includes a playground and is a deviation from the community’s master plan.

There is a rumor that there are some that would prefer a “Flat Bed Semi-Trailer” Band Stand in lieu of a band shell or Amphitheatre. Veteran’s Park was to be (and still is to be) the jewel of Marco Island. Imagine our nickname of not a bedroom community or island community, but a “flatbed” community. We need a park where we can have frequent outdoor concerts, school events requiring an outdoor stage, along with concessions to make money and provide convenience to Marco residents and attendees. 

Myself and a past vice-chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee spoke to architects that specialize in amphitheatre and band shell design and planning. There are many, many possibilities and we found out that the cost is not exorbitant. But the design and decision is still the communities’ to make.  We, as a community, need the parking spaces, we need a finished park! It has been 14 years since the park was purchased (by a 61 percent voter margin) and nine years since the plan for the park was released.

Please take another look at the master plan for Veteran’s Park. Maybe we do not need the building shown in the plan. We could opt for more green space. The original thought was the building could be a location/venue for the Marco Players, to generate revenue. In addition, it would have been a space for art exhibits and public events. But again, eliminating the building is an easy task.

The money being paid to Kimly Horn should be dedicated to a park design and plans. Plans for 175 parking spaces, Pergolas, lighting, and a finished park. Not wasted on a re-design that is not required and not necessary in order to move forward with your park.

If you agree, please do not hesitate to send an e-mail to Patty Mastronardi,  pmastronardi@cityofmarcoisland.com, stating that you want to proceed with the Park as envisioned in the Master Plan.  Patty will forward your e-mails to the Parks and Recreation Committee for their viewing. You can also e-mail the City Council at city_council@cityofmarcoisland.com.

The Community needs to weigh in on this subject or we just let others dictate how the park will be done and what it will look like. Most of these naysayers were not even here, on Marco, in 2009. Again, please look at the Master Plan and express your thoughts.

Ed Issler, Marco Island

Roadway resurfacing

An open letter to City Council concerning roadway resurfacings projects: I listened to the replay of the City Council meeting held on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, Item 11. b. A resolution authorizing selection of roadways to be resurfaced for FY 2018. During the discussion Mr. Grifoni was questioning Mr. Pinter about the selection of roads to be resurfaced.

The importance of that discussion was $1 million was reallocated from the utility funds to roadway resurface projects, predominately for STRP roads. The purpose the council decided to reallocate the funds was that decided it was created by the STRP. After he and Mr. Pinter were completing their discussion, Mr. Grifoni stated that approximately $1.2 million will be spent and the residual funds would be carried over to FY 2019 to be able to resurface more roads, and Mr. Pinter agreed. Never during the discussion did he or any other councilor refer to the risidual funds, $5 hundred thousand of residual funds from FY 2017, no roadways were resurfaced in FY 2017, was never carried over to FY 2018 or FY 2019 to be used for roadway resurfacing projects.

If they did, that it would give them $800 thousand more for FY 2019, plus budget of $500 thousand for FY 2019 ($1.3 million) for roadway resurfacing projects in FY 2019.

Why was the FY 2017 $500 thousand ignored in their thought process? Was the $500 thousand spent elsewhere?

Amadeo Petricca, Marco Island

Marco managers casualties of politics

I have been involved in Marco Island city government as an eight-year planning board member. It is very unfortunate that politics have played a role in causing resignations of two, in my opinion, excellent city managers.

The first one was Bill Moss, the city’s first manager during its first 10 years as a city. Moss resigned because of the sewer program. This became a hot political issue, but Moss believed it was best for the health of all of us. The city now has public sewers in lieu of septic systems. Following his resignation from Marco Island, he applied and became city manager of Naples. He has served Naples extremely well.

The second excellent city manager to resign was Roger Hernstadt, over an application made by developers to build a160-room, seven-story hotel abutting Veterans Community Park on private

property. The city was suffering from insufficient parking. Here the developer agreed to build, at its cost, 120 parking spots to better accommodate the Farmers Market situation and a band shell in the park, but only if it could use certain city-owned credits.

The City Council and many residents made this a big political issue and he decided to resign. He was immediately grabbed up as city manager of Fort Myers Beach. Best to you, Hernstadt.

What I’m saying is City Council and the political aspects of it cause very good city managers who only have the best interest of our city to resign. In the big picture, the city of Marco Island loses.

Irv Povlow, Marco Island

Stop prescribed burns

These prescribed burns are a ridiculous way for the state Forest Service

to get overtime.

Seriously, getting people sick from this smoke is not a joke; even my cat is puking from it. Stop these ridiculous prescribed burns.

Carrie Rutta, Naples

Dangerous intersection

As a resident of East Naples, it’s exciting to watch the stunning rate of growth in the surrounding area. While I strongly support new development, I worry that our Collier County leaders are approving projects without regard to the safety and well-being of their residents, putting well-connected developers ahead of their constituents. Their approved traffic flow around the Inspira development is the latest example of extraordinarily poor judgment. Inspira is the 300-unit apartment complex under construction at Rattlesnake Hammock Road and Grand Lely Drive. Because Stock Development wants to leverage Lely Resort as a selling point, they placed the main entrance on Grand Lely instead of Rattlesnake Hammock Road.

There is no additional lane for traffic to ease over toward the entrance and the crossing median on Grand Lely Drive is beyond treacherous. Cars making a left in or out of the complex cross paths and it’s impossible to stop at the median because there’s only room for one car. You don’t need a traffic study or engineering degree to realize the design is incredibly flawed. What’s worse is that this is 100 yards from a busy intersection.

Sadly, we lost another member of our community this year due to the reckless indifference of Collier County officials to traffic safety within Lely Resort. It seems the county’s approach is to allow fat-cat developers to build whatever they like, count the fatalities, then decide what remedy is needed.

The traffic flow around Inspira is positioned to be the most dangerous stretch of road in the entire county. I expected more of our county officials.

Denise Champagne, Naples

Municipal golf course needed

Dear Collier County commissioners:

As a full-time resident and taxpayer of the Golden Gate community, I am very concerned about the proposed housing project on the site of the Golden Gate Country Club at the corner of Collier Boulevard and Golden Gate Parkway.

The proposed housing for more than 700 families and subsequent elimination of the golf course would destroy a golden opportunity to duplicate many well-managed and profitable municipal golf courses in so many similar communities in Florida and across the nation. There are proven models that work. A nonpartisan study of these examples would support the a cquisition of the course as a not-for-profit municipal course managed by a staff whose charter and incentives would be to operate the course to cover all its costs with a small return to the county.

A municipal golf course would stand out as a valuable community and family resource for the Naples area. Please nurture the golf course into a proud Naples asset.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Frank R. Esposito, Golden Gate

Shame on Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio has done it again. Instead of supporting the brave students who are raising the consciousness of all of us about the need for serious gun control legislation, he continues to pander to the National Rifle Association (which has supported him heavily) and blathers about the Second Amendment to the Constitution as if it is one of the Ten Commandments. Where is his empathy? What is his solution?

Meanwhile, he continues to support the mean-spirited, racist, xenophobic, serial philanderer in the White House.

Shame on him. We will not forget his actions (or lack thereof ) when he runs for office in 2020. Good riddance.

Bill Louis, Naples

Require background checks for all gun sales in Florida

Recently, Florida legislators adopted measures to improve school and gun safety. While I applaud these measures, I at the same time am astounded they failed to address the issue that, as a Florida resident, I am allowed to purchase a firearm from another Florida resident without any background investigation.

How can that make sense? Did they pass their legislation just for the optics that make it appear they are addressing serious issues? I own numerous firearms and support the Second Amendment, but fail to see how this makes sense.

Harry Haynes, Naples

Protect investigation

I have written to my members of Congress (Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and Rep. Francis Rooney) to tell them that, as one of their constituents and a registered Republican, I am closely watching what actions they take to protect the special counsel’s investigation into meddling in our last election.

I wholeheartedly support the Special Counsel Independence Protection Act, as well as the Special Counsel Integrity Act, introduced in both the House and the Senate and expect that they will too. Let the chips fall where they may. Their first duty is to uphold the Constitution, which clearly envisions a system of checks and balances and to provide security to the country, including its all-important election process.

Gloria Garber, Naples