Work begins on Veterans Community Park | News
In 2003, registered voters on Marco Island approved the acquisition of the Glon property for $10 million in an electoral referendum that exempted the project from the “spending cap” and allowed its approval under the city charter. Then, later in 2005, the Marco Island City Council voted to name that same property the Veterans Community Park, giving the park its identity in name only, but without a clear vision of what it would be.
In 2003, the late Councilman E. Glenn Tucker warned then-residents to be patient as the fledgling city was then unable to move forward with planning for the future of the Park. However, the community has acknowledged and approved the city’s protection of the last major green space for future community use.
The community was able to recognize the value of purchasing the Veterans Community Park when the volunteer committee that runs Christmas Island Style approached the town with the idea of moving the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony to park in 2008. Since then, other events such as concerts, seafood festivals and the popular farmers’ market have found their way to the Veterans Community Park.
The first Veterans Community Park Planning Committee began work on the park’s first master plan in 2008-2009. This ad hoc committee held numerous open meetings and public design charrettes to gather feedback from residents. The Veterans Community Park Master Plan, as developed by the committee and with the assistance of Kimley-Horn and Associates, was presented to City Council in 2009.
In 2018, a new city council requested that the plan be revised again to ensure that the old document was still focused on the needs of the community. Once again, Kimley-Horn and Associates reviewed and resubmitted this plan with minor adjustments for board consideration.
Following this review, in 2019 the city moved forward to approve a contract with Kimley Horn and Associates for $594,959 to develop construction documents, permitting and construction phase services for the implementation of the elements. of the park in the Veterans Community Park Master Plan.
The Council also discussed the process the city would use in the construction phase of the project. This debate has centered on whether to rely on a “design-build” process, where the city has drawn up a set of construction plans and puts out tenders to obtain the best possible price for the project based on these plans, or to proceed with what is known as the “Construction Manager at Risk” (CMAR) concept, where the contractor comes back with a “not to exceed price”, and any overrun is at the expense of the contractor. In the end, the city would choose a CMAR process.
Everyone was smiling when, on Wednesday, August 18, the first solemn shovelfuls were handed in, signifying the start of the long-awaited year-long construction project. The project will improve parking, drainage, lighting, new sanitary facilities, shade trees, improved electrical services and the highly controversial strip shell.