Friday, May 14, 2021

PRAC Wants Field Saved

Photo by Steve Stefanides

Photo by Steve Stefanides

The Marco Island Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) met just prior to Thanksgiving and heard from Linda Colombo, chairperson of the Beautification Advisory Committee, about how they could join forces and collaborate to replant some of the trees lost during Hurricane Irma.

James Pankonin of Kimley Horn addressed the committee regarding how to move forward on redeveloping a “master plan” with alternatives for Veterans Community Park. He envisioned a six to ten-month process to develop that plan with input from the community.

Staff reported that they have taken possession of the new Mackle Park Community Center and are ramping up for activities to resume. Samantha Malloy, Manager of Parks, Culture, & Recreation, reported that mold remediation is ongoing at the Racquetball Center, therefore it has yet to be reopened.

The issue of the interlocal agreement between the school board and the city for use of the regulation baseball field at Tommie Barfield Elementary School was a topic of discussion. The city has maintained the field as part of their responsibility in the arrangement. The city had minimal usage during the last year, however, the field was extensively used by others, such as Marco Island Academy.

Board Member Jerra Minning informed her colleagues on the board that the field had extensive use by numerous groups such as Little League and men’s softball. Board Chairman Dr. Carlos Portu also spoke of the use of the facilities and agreed that it was an integral portion of the overall usage of fields for athletics within the city.

It appeared that the decision to terminate the interlocal agreement was not communicated with the public or the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, but instead was handled internally. Another issue reviewed was the lack of a clear process for accessing the field and when it would be available.

Coaches, Little League players and parents were in attendance and testified they wanted to see the interlocal agreement maintained and not lose the field.

Chairman Portu moved forward a motion to request that council rescind their letter to the county to give up the field. Portu felt that an amicable resolution regarding the maintenance of the ballfield would be worked out. It would pass by a vote of 6-0.

Marco Island Council Chairman Jared Grifoni was in attendance and the committee requested that he fast forward the request to rescind the notification to terminate the interlocal agreement and have it placed on the next council agenda.

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