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Tag Archives: Smokehouse Bay Bridge

Marco Island’s Farmers Market

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By Pat Newman Marco Island’s Farmer’s Market opened for the 2014-2015 season on Wednesday with an updated layout and 100 booths offering fresh produce, food options, art, homemade crafts and a friendly ambiance. Veteran’s Community Park, located at 901 Park Ave, is the market’s home for the next five months. This is the fifth year the traditional gathering of vendors and shoppers will convene at Veteran’s Park. According to Alex Galiana, Administrative and Facilities Manager for Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation, the ongoing market was originally started by a private group and held on the grounds of St. Mark’s Episcopal ... Read More »

Smokehouse Bay Bridge Update

Work on the southbound span of the Smokehouse Bay Bridge is about 20 percent complete. PHOTO BY FRANK STEIGER

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The sign posted on the exit door of the Starbucks at The Esplanade on Tuesday, Sept. 30, sent caffeine junkies into instant withdrawals. Starting Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 PM, the store would be closed — closed? — due to a boil water notice, and unless otherwise notified, the store would not reopen until Saturday, Oct. 4. According to Jeff Poteet, general manager of Marco Island Utilities, bridge contractor Quality Enterprises will be tying in a new 20-inch water main that was recently installed as part of the $8.625 million Smokehouse Bay Bridge project. In ... Read More »

City Council Approves Millage, Budget

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By Noelle H. Lowery Marco Island City Manager Roger Hernstadt’s pay-as-you-go budget earned a green light when city councilors voted 6-1 to approve it during the Monday, Sept. 22 regular meeting. Councilor Amadeo Petricca held fast to his objections to the budget plan, voting against it. For FY2015, the approved budget totals $22 million based on a 2.507 overall millage rate. This is a 7.85 percent millage rate increase over the city’s aggregate ad valorem taxes based on the city’s rollback rate and a conservatively projected increase in Marco Island property values. It combines a millage of 2.0466 for general ... Read More »

City Budget Watch

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Since April, Marco Island City Manager Roger Hernstadt has been pounding the pavement to get the word out in the community about his FY2015 budget plan for the city. Call it what you will — the bucket system, pay-as-you-go, debt free program — the five-year plan promises to streamline Marco Island’s general fund finances and get the city out of debt while also planning which projects it will tackle, when it will tackle them and then saving for them. What debt you ask? Well, there is the $150 million in water and sewer debt, the ... Read More »

Litha Berger to Run for City Council

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By Noelle H. Lowery Litha Berger has announced her candidacy for the Marco Island City Council. Elections will be held Nov. 4. In a letter sent to local media on Tuesday, July 8, Berger wrote: “The opportunity has been presented to me to serve on the Marco Island City Council. I am overwhelmed by the support and faith placed in me by residents, and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities to work with the City Council members, the city manager and the Marco Island city staff.” Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Berger is a product ... Read More »

Bob Brown to Run for City Council

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com On June 17, Marco Island City Councilor Bob Brown sent a letter to the Coastal Breeze News offices. The content of the letter: He intends to run for City Council during the November 2014 election. Marco Islanders will remember that Brown took over the City Council seat vacated by Larry Magel on Aug. 14, 2013. Magel had 14 months remaining on his term, and during the Aug. 18 regular City Council meeting, councilors voted 4-2 in favor of Brown, who was sworn in on Sept. 3. Since then, Brown and his fellow councilors have handled ... Read More »

The Question of a Public-Private Partnership

Bob Olson addresses the Marco Island City Council during the June 21st  reading of the Marriott’s PUD amendment. Olson spoke frequently against the Marriott PUD amendment in the months leading up to its final approval on June 16. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com During its June 16 regular meeting, the Marco Island City Council put to rest the debate over the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort’s $150 million renovation project, approving the PUD amendments by a vote of 6-1. Even so, new questions rose about the Marriott’s offer to give the city $1 million to expedite the renovation of the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Marriott General Manager Rick Medwedeff made the offer during the project first appearance before City Council on June 2. The $1 million contribution to will cut the construction schedule by eight months, eliminate any potential ... Read More »

Who is Quality Enterprises USA?

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Smokehouse Bay Bridge is not the first project Naples-based Quality Enterprises USA Inc. has contracted to do for the city of Marco Island. “Quality Enterprises USA has been working on contracts and projects for the city since 2002,” says Public Works Director Tim Pinter. “QE has always provided the city with an excellent work product. They have worked with us to overcome several large unforeseen situations with the numerous projects they have completed. They have always been more than professional in their dealings with the city.” In fact, Quality Enterprises was responsible for the construction of Marco Island Utilities’ high-service ... Read More »

A closer look at the Marriott’s $1 Million Offer

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com On June 2, the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort’s $150 million renovation plan cleared another hurdle when City Council approved the amendment to the hotel’s planned unit development and master plan by a vote of 4-2. Councilors Amadeo Petricca and Chuck Kiester voted against the measure, and Councilor Joe Batte was not in attendance. The second reading of the PUD amendment will be held Monday, June 16, at 5:30 PM, during the next regular City Council meeting. The approval came after nearly six hours of presentations, impassioned community responses, in-depth discussion and a surprise promise ... Read More »

Approved: 1st Reading of Marriott PUD Amendment

Marco Island city councilors listen to both sides of the Marriott project debate during the June 2 meeting.

By Noelle H. Lowery The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort’s $150 million renovation plan cleared its first hurdle Monday (June 2) night when City Council approved the amendment to the hotel’s planned unit development and master plan by a vote of 4-2. Councilors Amadeo Petricca and Chuck Kiester voted against the measure, and Councilor Joe Batte was not in attendance. The approval came after nearly six hours of presentations, impassioned community responses, in-depth discussion and a surprise promise from Marriott General Manager Rick Medwedeff. The hotel’s ownership group will kick in $1 million to expedite the renovation of the Smokehouse ... Read More »

City Council Notes

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The Marco Island City Council got down to business during its May 19 regular meeting hashing out a number of issues, including the purchase of an emergency standy-by generator for its South Water Treatment Plant for $200,000, the award of the $7.625 million contract for the Smokehouse Bay Bridge project to Quality Enterprises USA and a detailed discussion on how the city creates its ordinances and resolutions. An Electric Deal Council tackled the generator purchase first, agreeing to include the purchase of the emergency standy-by generator from Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) in its FY2015 ... Read More »

Marco Island 2015 Budget Talks: A Closer Look

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com During the city’s first 2015 budget workshop, City Manager Roger Hernstadt and Finance Director Guillermo Polanco proposed what some are calling an aggressive and gutsy five-year plan to streamline Marco Island’s general fund finances and get the city out of debt. To be sure, Marco Island’s overall financial outlook is healthy. By September 30, 2014, the city will have $11 million in reserves, along with $4.3 million set aside in its emergency reserves. According to Hernstadt, this $4.3 million amounts to three months of operating expenditures for the city. “We act as if we don’t ... Read More »

Smokehouse Bay Bridge Out to Bid

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Smokehouse Bay Bridge is going back out to bid. The revised construction cost estimate has been tallied at a little more than $7.2 million, and includes a landscaping alternate and a lump sum utility cost. The bid package will be advertised on Feb. 23. City officials are cautiously optimistic about the new process. Marco Island has spent the last six years and more than $2 million trying to repair the deteriorating spans, concrete spalls and crumbling seawalls while also designing a replacement bridge that some have dubbed “the Taj Mahal of bridges.” The last bid ... Read More »

Long-term planning on horizon for public works?

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Larry Honig had one question for Tim Pinter during the October 7 City Council meeting. The Marco Island city councilor wanted to know if and when the city’s public works director and his staff are going to provide a comprehensive, long-term plan for the island’s 127 miles of roadway. The question came after a long week of frustration and disappointment for Pinter. First, the Planning Board took him to task over his second presentation on rerouting truck traffic away from Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Second, city councilors tabled both of his department’s requests during their meeting. ... Read More »

Smokehouse Bridge Goes to Bid

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By Noelle H. Lowery – noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Now, the real work begins. After nearly four years of design, planning and debate, the Marco Island City Council has instructed city staff to complete the bid package for the $11.5 million Smokehouse Bay Bridge project and put it out for bid. The measure was approved during a special meeting last week by a vote of 5-2 with Councilmen Larry Honig and Larry Magel voting against it. An idea to patch up the bridges for $650,000 was pushed aside in favor of moving forward with the project, and was characterized by Public Works Director Tim ... Read More »