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 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 1 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.
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% voter margin) and 9 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.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.