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Spackled Mackle

Mary Vale, Features Editor

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Mackle Park, a 6,500 square foot community center located on Marco Island, was built in 1986 for the enjoyment of the then 8,000 full-time residents of the small city. At the time, and over the years, it proved to be the perfect island addition! Mackle Park offered enough space for over 86 community programs with 15,000 participants, boasted an indoor recreation room, playground, water park, covered basketball court, and bocce court. However, with the increase of full-time residents to 16,000, increase of seasonal residents to 40,000, and an overall lack of space for new programs, it was time for a change.

For this, the City of Marco Island had two options: either repair the current Community Center building, or construct a new one. To repair the current building, it would have cost approximately $500,000. On the other hand, to construct a new building, it would cost approximately $3,500,000. If they were to add to the current 28-year-old building, it would not be energy efficient and would still have only one community program room, resulting in the scrapping of multiple community programs and their 12,000 participants. The overall size of a new building would increase to 16,000 square feet, allowing for over forty new programs.

To make the final decision, on August 26, 2014, a ballot poll asked the public “Shall the City expend up to $3.5 million dollars to construct a new Community Center up to 16,000 sq. ft. at Mackle Park?” and the measure barely passed with a “Yes.” However, due to the increase in building costs, the new building will now be 12,000 square feet. With the final plan in place, the new Community Center “will have five multi-purpose rooms as opposed to two, there will be a combined youth/teen center and game room as opposed to the old ‘Teen Trailer’, and an adult game room. There will be an outdoor patio along with additional bathrooms,” according to Alex Galiana, the Administrative and Facilities Manager.

To breathe life into this dream, last month the current building was demolished, the land was cleared, and the construction of the new building began. Although the plan has already been put into motion, the construction is planned to allow the public to have regular access to all outdoor, non-demolition areas of the park. According to Alex, the new building is expected to be completed by August, 2017.

To keep updated and for more information regarding the project, visit the City of Marco Island’s website at http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/index.aspx?page=425.

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