Saturday, September 21, 2019

County Manager Addresses Kiwanis

(l to r) County Commissioner Donna Fiala, County Manager Leo Ochs Jr., and Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards at breakfast meeting of Kiwanis Club of Marco Island. Photo by Carol Glassman.

(l to r) County Commissioner Donna Fiala, County Manager Leo Ochs Jr., and Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards at breakfast meeting of Kiwanis Club of Marco Island. Photo by Carol Glassman.

At a recent meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island, County Manager Leo Ochs reviewed some of the construction projects the County has been completing in recent months, and addressed future projects that could affect Marco Island residents.

The 951 Boat Ramp is nearing completion, he said, and in addition to expanding the number of parking places for vehicles towing water craft, workmen have been landscaping the medians and will be adding a left-turn lane to help with safe traffic maneuvering to the ramp.

The six-laning is now complete on 951 to Davis Blvd. Other main thoroughfares such as Santa Barbara Road are undergoing construction to enable alternate routes to 951.

Work on the Goodland Boat Ramp and Park is also proceeding.

Some work has already been done to the existing Jolley Bridge in preparation for the major construction which is expected to begin shortly. An Open House was held on Marco Island recently to discuss concerns residents might have and to give them an opportunity to discuss them with the Department of Transportation.

Ochs said he would be meeting later in the day with Commissioner Donna Fiala and officials of Marco Island, to discuss the possibility of the City’s applying for Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) for the Town Center area. Commissioner Fiala, who was present at the meeting, reminded everyone of the critria.

In order to qualify, under the provisions of the Community Redevelopment Act, a city must prepare a “finding of necessity” showing that the rehabilitation, conservation, or redevelopment of an area meets criteria broadly described as “slum” or “blighted” and is necessary in the interest of the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the residents of the community. The statute specifically identifies that coastal and tourist areas that have inadequate transportation and parking facilities, faulty lot layout, inadequate street layout or inadequate and outdated building density patterns can benefit economically and socially from a formal redevelopment program.

Both Commissioner Fiala and Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards, cautioned those present to make sure they filled in, signed, and either mailed or delivered their ballots in time for the Municipal Election January 26.

Ochs said that the County continues to face challenges presented by a reduced budget and loss of manpower, which make it difficult to supply the usual high quality services to residents.

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