The best good news item for our transportation system is that the huge intersection project (a footprint for a future overpass, with 951 flying over 41) according to the County is 6 months ahead of schedule and under budget. If our weather holds up and we have a mild summer, the intersection should be finished by the end of August, unless we have some severe weather problems. However, because of utility work, the FDOT’s U.S. 41 E expansion from the 951 intersection 6 lanes to Joseph Lane, and then 4 lanes to Greenway Rd., is running a little behind schedule.
*The Kite Realty folks, who will be building the new shopping center Tamiami Crossings, were in my office last week and stated they plan to start construction on their shopping center by the end of March. It will be nice to have a few new places to shop.
*You probably noticed how quickly the Panera Bread building is going up. Things are beginning to “bustle” in that corridor. But have you noticed that many of our winter residents are already leaving? It’s a little early to leave, but maybe the weather is getting better up there. It’s almost like part of our volunteer forces are leaving. These people come here every year to enjoy their winter home, and as soon as they unload the cars, they go out and volunteer around the community! I respect them so much for that. They add so much to the vitality of our social life.
*Did I mention that the County is working closely with the Marco Island Flotilla 9-5 to replace their 25 yr. old double-wide, located at Caxambas Park, which has outlived it’s useful life, and the cost for repairs far exceed the value of the building. The County and the Flotilla have entered into a partnership, where each agency will contribute funds to buy a new facility. The new building will be a modular structure and will provide classroom space for meetings and training for all volunteer members of the Flotilla 9-5 of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Their Public Education programs include boating skills and seamanship, Boater’s local knowledge, GPS, Weekend Navigator, Suddenly in Command, and specialty courses on Hurricanes and Your Boat, Weather and Radio. The classroom space can also be used for membership meetings and committee meetings. The Flotilla is now reaching out to the community for help in obtaining their portion of the funds needed to replace the building. They are a 501 (c) 3, so your donation will be fully deductible. The Friends of Marco Island Flotilla’s address is P.O. Box 904, Marco Island, 34146. Your help would be greatly appreciated in this most important endeavor.
*Hopefully you’ve heard of the Step Smart program designed to make people more aware of safety measures to prevent falling. On Marco, the Sunshine Ace Hardware has a Home Audit Checklist, which is printed material suggesting ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from falling. It covers every room in the house, entryways and steps and stairways. Pick up one of these free folders. They encourage you to give some thought to improving your safety at home.
*Phil Brougham of Fiddler’s Creek, wrote the County the following question regarding the road construction at the “big” intersection: Q. I notice the southbound lane nearest Walgreen’s, Lowes and Dunkin’ Donuts on 951, beginning at the U.S.41 intersection, is graded and paved about 6 inches higher than the adjacent open southbound lanes. Is that lane going to be a “service road” with access to the Lowe’s entrance or what? (I) can’t figure out why it is higher or maybe it won’t remain higher if they fill the other south bound lanes. Answer from Steve Ritter, Growth Management Division Construction manager: No, it is not a service road: it is part of the road widening work. There will be a median separator. The remainder of the roadway to be constructed will have up to 11” of fill, which will be placed once the traffic can be shifted off the old pavement. The work is done in stages; one part paved consisting of compacted layers which are higher, until the rest of the pavement can be done.