Letters to the Editor, Jan. 18

Marco Eagle

Marco needs this

During the debate about the proposed assisted living facility on Marco Island, many aspects of the plan have come under scrutiny by the Planning Board, City Council and the public. While these steps are important, I suggest that the main focus now be on the need for such a facility.

As a former caregiver and facilitator of a Marco Island dementia support group for eight years, I can attest to the need I experienced for an assisted living facility on Marco Island: first, in my personal situation and also hearing from the support group members who were vocal about their needs. A major one was for a Marco Island facility that could care for their loved one with dementia when they could no longer be cared for at home.

Editorial cartoon

With no facility on the island, caregivers have had no option but to place loved ones in a facility in Naples or elsewhere. It has meant miles of travel taking many minutes or hours for caregivers to see their loved ones. How much more convenient it would be, if they could visit that special person in a Marco Island facility each day, travelling only a few miles instead of 20 or more.

The need for a local facility is there. Just talk with the facilitators and with members of the two support groups, the one I mentioned sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association continues to meet at St. Mark’s Church and the second group, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Support Network of Naples, meets at the Bank of America, both on the island. In addition, check with the Naples Senior Center of JFCS that offers dementia respite care on Marco Island at St. Mark’s Church to confirm that the need exists. 

The population asking for local memory care is the one I know. But there are many other reasons for wanting assisted living including physical decline and general aging. While you work out the important legal and planning issues, also focus on the need for such a facility and help it to become a reality.

Shirley Woolaway, Naples

Don't want to leave

This letter supports the Chancey Design assisted living facility proposed for the medical campus on San Marco Rd. at Bald Eagle Drive.

Marco Island needs an assisted living facility. We have none. As I'm getting older (70s) my tennis/book club/mahjong/neighbors and I are increasingly in need of having the option to move into an assisted living facility. At present the closest place is in Naples.

"Just across the bridge" some say. No. That is not an acceptable option. While it is OK for me to drive around Marco, the multi-lanes of 951 and 41 are daunting, especially at night. I want to be able to visit my friends, and in turn I want them to visit me if I choose to move into an assisted living facility (ALF). Also, I personally know how difficult it is for one "strong" spouse to visit the other "weak" spouse in an off-island facility. Imagine having to drive daily for an hour, and then back – clear out to Immokalee Road – to see your loved one. We shouldn't have to go through that.

We moved to Marco Island 19 years ago specifically to be able to walk to the grocery store, pedal to church and the library, go a short drive to the pharmacy and the beach. We miss our friends Annie, Lena, Adrian, Iris, Carmel, Chuck and Bernie who moved off the island because no facility is on Marco.  

We love Marco Island and we want to stay here. It's that simple.

We have attended the Planning Board hearings and listened to Mr. Chancey and Attorney Woodward respond to neighbors' concerns. We heard the chairman cite 30-62 of the Land Development Code. As is usually the case, the silent majority were not heard because they had no problem with the project. As is usually the case, the majority of those who attended came because they had a complaint.

It is true the neighbors at Waterside had legitimate concerns. These were addressed by Mr. Chancey meeting with the residents, changing his plans and continually modifying the project to meet their concerns. This developer, we believe, has gone above and beyond what was really necessary to insure the facility meets the interests of all of the residents of Marco Island.  

The medical campus on San Marco is the best location. The beautifully-designed facility has been reduced to three stories, with166 units, and has plenty of green space (more than required) for residents as well as the public to stroll along the waterway. With only a little tongue-in-cheek my husband says he'll reserve the unit next to the boat dock. The land is presently zoned for a hospital. An assisted living facility is certainly compatible with Marco Island's Master Plan for that area. City Councilors, please vote yes.  

Marie Johnson and Douglas P. Johnson, Marco Island