Some of the things that made big news on Marco Island in 2017: Chamber’s New Executive Director
The New Year 2017 started with a change for the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, when Executive Director Sandi Riedemann-Lazarus retired after 21 years on the job. Dianna Dohm, former Community Relations Manager and Business Development Officer for Mutual of Omaha Bank was named the new executive director for the Chamber. Dianna held leadership positions in many community organizations, such as Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation, Marco Island Civic Association, Kiwanis Club, City of Marco Island Beautification Advisory Committee, Avow Hospice Community Advisory Board, and more. Over the past year she has moved the Chamber forward, encouraging new businesses and supporting positive community growth. Marco Turns 20It has been twenty years since August 28, 1997, when Marco Island took on the status of “city.” The journey was not an easy one. First presented in 1980, the proposal was presented to voters six times before it was finally passed by a narrow margin. The City of Marco Island celebrated this milestone event in true Marco Island style – a week-long celebration to commemorate this monumental occasion. ACS Number One in State Out of the 275 American Cancer Society Relay For Life events held in the State of Florida this year, Relay For Life of Marco Island was first in fundraising, bringing in an impressive $345,000. In 2017, twenty-six Relay teams raised almost $32,000 more than they did in 2016. The funds will be used for general research, programs and services with the American Cancer Society. Upgrade of Island Plaza The Island Plaza, located at the corner of North Collier Boulevard and Bald Eagle Drive, underwent approximately $2.3 million renovations. Anchored by CVS and Beall’s Outlet, it is a favorite spot for locals because of stores such as The Harbor Goldsmith, China Rose Florist, Jets Surf Shop, and more. When renovations are completed, all the building facades will be updated, and an outdoor seating area and more parking will be added. Shoppers can expect new landscaping, modern lighting, an improved walkway, and the addition of a clock tower. Renovations will give the 30-year old Island Plaza a modern, updated appearance. Hurricane Irma Hurricane Irma slammed into Marco Island on September 10, 2017, and left behind serious damage to the island, Goodland, Isles of Capri, Everglades City and other surrounding communities. In the aftermath, islanders showed strength and resilience. Residents came together to help each other through the Marco Patriots as well as other organizations and associations. It was neighbor helping neighbor for many months during the island’s recovery. By October 1 many businesses were up and running and tourists were returning to the area. Mackle Park Community Center
On December 14, 2017, the new Mackle Park Community Center was unveiled at an official ribbon cutting and open house. Building a new community center was a phased project in the works for several years. It began with the playing field redesign, filling in a finger on the lake, enhancements to the path around the lake, a splash park, and a canine cove. Plans went through several rounds of redesign. Marco Island City Council deferred the community center to the voters, who approved up to a $3.5 million expenditure. The new building features a large game room, as well as a new expanded teen center area, which will be used for general programming during school hours. The building was completed on time and under budget. JW Marriott Debut
The Marco Island Marriott Beach and Golf Resort was converted into an exclusive, JW Marriott branded resort. Renovations, in the amount of $320 million, include a new 94-room, adults-only tower, bringing the resort to a total of 810 guest rooms and suites and a total of 100,000 square feet of flexible event space. The tower will also have a 12,000 square foot indoor entertainment center, a rooftop pool and a restaurant. The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort is the only waterfront JW Marriott. Hilton Fire, Renovations
On June 9th the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa experienced an electrical fire which caused damage to the hotel, including isolated flooding due to sprinkler activation. The hotel was closed, and visiting guests were relocated to other accommodations while the Hilton worked to fix the problem. Currently, the resort is undergoing a redesign of all guest rooms, as well as design enhancements to The Deck at 560 Restaurant, scheduled for completion in early 2018.
Read about Marco Island city government’s year in review on page A-2.