Thursday, May 26, 2022

Letter to the Editor: Veterans Community Park Counterpoint



Mr. Rios, the name of the park is Veterans’ COMMUNITY Park, NOT Veterans’ Park.

The Marco Island Property Owners (MIPO) Board of Directors would like to remind you that it was the community that purchased this parkland, and 18 community members created a Master Plan for community use. A portion of the park was then designated for a Veterans’ Memorial.

The MICA survey offered one, broad question, regarding development of the park. In the MIPO Board’s opinion, the absence of specificity left the respondent’s imagination to wide open speculation and fear as to what might be developed on the property resulting in a knee jerk 82% vote against further park development.

Your comment, “so called surveys”, was inflammatory. The Marco Island Property Owners Newsletter Survey included factual historical, information on the purchase of the park property and the 2009 Master Plan. Our survey offered the respondent seven to eight questions, specificity, and choices on what they desired for the future of Veterans’ Community Park.

Green-space was a first priority to almost all MIPO respondents. Additionally, the majority of the respondents favored a band-shell building containing restrooms and a vendor area.

It is true that council received many emails, primarily from MICA members, expressing their concerns for green space. On April 19, 2016, these concerned people attended PRAC’s last meeting for public input regarding Veterans’ Community Park. That meeting ended with most of these citizens relieved to hear that building a band-shell facility still left the park with 94% to 95% green-space. Unfortunately Mr. Rios, you did not attend this meeting.

13 years ago, citizens voted to purchase the “Glon Property.”

8 years ago, 18 citizens began developing the Master Plan.

7 years ago, the Master Plan was approved by City Council.

18 months ago, PRAC began seeking community input for Veterans’ Community Park development at their monthly meetings and from community organizations.

1 month ago, a council consensus of 6-0 agreed to move a modified plan forward for discussion at the July 8th Council Budget Workshop.

Directed by council, all seven members of PRAC are to be commended for their time and their due diligence.

We do not need a referendum. We do not need to drag this issue on any longer. The people have spoken and they want green-space and a band-shell. With the PRAC’s recommended modified plan, the community will still have 94-95% green-space to enjoy. Victor, this is not just a “nice to have.” It is a benefit for Marco Island; an enhancement of the park with a protected venue that can earn money while the community safely enjoys the facility. Think Cambier Park in Naples or Riverside Park in Bonita Springs.

Enough! Let’s get on the bandwagon and move forward.

MIPO Board of Directors,

Linda J. Turner, Chair

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