Saturday, January 22, 2022

Letter to the Editor: A Concerned Citizen

Below is a copy of a letter that Dr. Carlos Portu, PRAC Chairman, sent to a citizen who had emailed the Marco Island City Council regarding a recent email chain being circulated by a “Concerned Marco Island Citizen.”

First off, thank you for taking the time to email city council regarding Veterans Community Park. As Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee- I can tell you that PRAC has spent the last three years conducting an exhaustive public input process and we place the utmost importance in the feedback from our fellow citizens. 

I too received the same email that you did from a “Concerned Marco Island Citizen” regarding some sort of nefarious plot to pave our little corner of paradise. Let me be clear- the reality could not be further from the truth. If you have not had the chance to review the two most recent versions of the New Veterans Community Park Master plan as presented by Kimly Horn, I would encourage you to do so. As you will see from the plan proposals, I think they have done an exceptional job of capturing the essence of what most folks on Marco Island want to see. Minimal yet essential structures that complement outdoor activities along with a concerted effort to ADD Greenspace (Trees, Landscaping, walking paths, etc.), not take it away. Additionally, the proposals are quite consistent with the 2009 Master Plan, a tribute to the fact those plans, even 10 years old, are still quite consistent with what Islanders want to see at Vets Park.

Being a diverse community, there are always folks that have different ideas about any plan that we come up with. And I would NEVER discourage ANYONE from presenting those to our committee and as a result- the public. We owe it to our fellow citizens to hear out all ideas with attention, respect, and proper consideration. That said, not every idea that gets presented to our committee (or any other including City Council), is truly representative of what the majority of Islanders want. The job of our committee is to keep that center point in mind- something that we always have and will continue to do.

Please consider this my personal invitation to participate in the continued public feedback process for our park in a positive way along with encouraging City Council to help us dedicate the funding needed to bring this vision to reality. I would be honored if you would attend our next Committee meeting.

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Carlos Portu, MD

Chairman- Marco Island Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee

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