Building a new community center was a phased project, which had been 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 of the island, who approved up to a $3.5 million expenditure.
Michael Levine, a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, gave the opening remarks at the ribbon cutting celebration, followed by words from Marco Island City Council Chair, Jared Grifoni. Council Chair Grifoni cut the ceremonial ribbon. Guests were invited inside to tour the facility, and had the opportunity to meet staff and some of the program facilitators. Entertainment was provided by Michael Nardi and Carlo Fusaro.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. Smaller rooms to accommodate groups of varying sizes are located adjacent to the kitchen area. A welcome addition is an expanded registration-front desk. A new software system will allow participants to register for a program one time; registrants will have their information retained in the system- keeping tedious forms to a minimum.
The building was completed on time and under budget. “Looking to the future, there is work to be done. We have Kids Cove that will require updating soon, trees we lost during Hurricane Irma should be replaced, besides a few things we are still looking forward to getting for the new community center,” said Samantha Malloy, Manager of Parks, Culture and Recreation for the city. “We are so happy to be in the center, it is an essential part of this community. We’re here and we welcome everyone to stop in and see what we have to offer!”