Have you noticed the white banners on the Collier Boulevard lampposts? They’re advertising the 50th anniversary of Modern Marco. Yep, it’s been 50 years since the Mackle Brothers brought their vision to this hunk of paradise in Southwest Florida. There will be a grand celebration at the Marriott marking the occasion. It will be the last soiree at the Marco until it builds its new ballroom and tower beginning in May.
Those 50 years have been good ones on the Island. At first the population was a few dozen folks, growing to a few hundred as houses, a couple of condominiums on the beach and the first hotel (today’s Marriott) were built. Today, the year-round population tops 15,000, and the seasonal population swells to about 45,000!
Incorporation brought about our own city government. It’s often overlooked, but only about 11% of our tax bill goes to the city. It’s a huge bargain. Our fire rescue department responds to thousands of calls a year, and succeeds in saving a number of lives each year. Thanks to the new rescue boat our fire rescue personnel have saved more than a dozen lives out on the water. Meanwhile, our police department has improved and expanded our community police program. They are friendlier and more helpful than ever.
The city is moving ahead. The membership of the Code Advisory Committee is filling up. At this writing there are only two nominees still to be named. That committee will undertake review of city ordinances, and recommend changes, additions and deletions.
Design proposals for the new Mackle Park building are in and awaiting review and ranking by the city council in April. The long anticipated community building is nearing reality, as is the new and vastly improved YMCA.
The city is poised to bring aboard a new environmental expert. Because Marco Island is so environmentally sensitive this is an important position.
The city council is taking up final action on artificial turf (potentially a significant water saver), and rules on non-contiguous parking. Our rather small island has more than a hundred restaurants, including fast food, and parking solutions at or near the top of the list of priorities. Mixed use is again under review by the council, with a 50%-50% ratio probable for each project.
The city’s Planning Board will continue the study of the proposed midtown center located fairly much at the area where CVS and Beall’s Outlet exist today.
It’s a busy time for city government and the wheels are turning smoothly as smoothly as possible if any issues get contentious!