Work continues at Veterans Community Park | Town
Work continues on a number of major capital projects undertaken by the City of Marco Island. One project that continues to attract attention and questions about its progress is the work being done at the Veterans Community Park.
The community recognized the value of purchasing the Veterans Community Park when the Christmas Island Style Volunteer Committee approached the town in 2008 with the idea of moving the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony to the Park.
Since then, other events such as concerts, the Rotary Seafood Festival and the popular Farmers Market have found their way to Veterans Community Park.
The initial Veterans Community Park Planning Committee began its 5-7 month work on the park’s first master plan in 2008-2009. This ad hoc committee held numerous open meetings and public charrettes to gather feedback from residents. The Veterans Community Park Master Plan was then developed by the committee with the assistance of Kimley-Horn and Associates. This plan was submitted to the Marco Island City Council in 2009.
Nine years later, a brand new council has chosen to revisit plans drawn up nearly a decade before. Kimley-Horn was again hired to review the original plan. Again, considerable time passed and the result was a plan similar to one that had been developed a decade earlier. Finally, in early fall 2021, city councilors came together in a golden shovel ceremony and construction of the project began.
The project will include a new banner, public washrooms, parking improvements, drainage and utility improvements, as well as the planting of new trees and improved lighting.
One of the first steps in the project was the removal of donated trees that were planted as part of a “Trees are cool” civic project. This project has led to the planting of many trees, made possible thanks to donations from the community. All old underground utilities have also been removed. Improved drainage, utility upgrades, and the foundations for the new sanitary facilities and new amphitheater are under development.
City plans for the proper management of stormwater discharges have been submitted to the State of Florida. Plans have been reviewed and approved. The plans involve the installation of “exfiltration trenches”, with gravel surrounding numerous pipes 24 inches in diameter. Surface stormwater flowing into the piping will flow from the perforated piping into the gravel trenches along its underground course.
Many new commercial projects on and off the island use similar exfiltration technology to deal with storm water drainage.
Once work is completed on the area that will be grassed, the old parking lot will be excavated and the appropriate storm water drainage system will be installed. The proposed new parking area will have a similar stormwater plan instituted to deal with this runoff. This plan has also been submitted to the State of Florida and approved.
The foundations for the new amphitheater and the utilities to service the addition have been installed, and the steel structure to support the roof of the amphitheater has been delivered. It is expected that these structural elements will be put in place during the last week of January and the first week of February.
Much of the work done to facilitate improvements to the park is not visible because it is underground, such as electrical, water, sewage, and irrigation works. The LCEC will improve the electrical services available to meet the expected increase in demand load from the many uses of the park once the upgrades and additions are completed.
Coastal Breeze News will continue to update the community on this and other major construction projects on the island as progress is made. The latest news can always be found on our Facebook page or by visiting www.coastalbreezenews.com.