It was May of 1970 when the Beatles released their epic hit “The Long and Winding Road.” That could have been the theme song for the process that has brought the City of Marco Island to the point of developing a final plan for what is known today as Veterans’ Community Park.
The land for that park initially was known as the Glon Property. It was purchased in 1999, shortly after the city was formed. Ten years after that, an initial conceptual design was formulated through a collaborative effort of city staff, a community committee and the assistance of Kimley-Horn and Associates from Sarasota, FL. The recession of 2008 put any development of the park on hold for the next decade.
In 2019, a second look at that initial conceptual plan was undertaken by Kimley-Horn at the request of the city council. They worked with city staff and kept the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee informed, seeking their input. During that review, certain adjustments were made in an attempt to accommodate concerns from all sectors of the community. However, the original conceptual plans were left pretty much intact.
As a result of that review, on Monday, August 19, 2019, the dedication and work of a number of volunteers and committee members saw life breathed into the dream that had been 20 years in the making, as council voted to move forward.
Earlier in 2019, it had been determined that the city would proceed with a Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) style of contract. This is a contractual method that entails a commitment by the construction manager to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). Should the project suffer an overrun of the GMP, then the CMR is liable for that overage.
Last week at the March 5 meeting of the Marco Island Planning Board, James Pankonin, Senior Engineer for the project for Kimley-Horn, was present. He was very well versed in the details, as he had seen the project through since the initial 2008 creation of the vision for the facilities, and again in 2019 when it was reviewed once more for any changes. The majority of Planning Board members were seeing the final plans for the first time.
Daniel Smith, Marco Island Director of Community Affairs, advised the board that there were some minor issues that staff were dealing with, as they had received the final construction documents only two weeks prior.
New board member Nanette Rivera questioned Pankonin regarding ADA parking considerations, including adequate pick up and drop off locations for those with special needs. Pankonin reviewed those considerations with her and the remainder of the board.
The Site Development Plan for the project was approved 7-0 and now will be forwarded on to the city council for its final stamp of approval.