Develop a BlueGreen Parks and Rec Master Plan

As a former Professor Emeritus of Public Health Education and resident of central New Jersey who moved to Marco Island in 2012, I was appalled to learn that Marco Island residents are charged for many recreational services. For example, Marco Island residents have to pay to play tennis or pickleball at the Racquet Center and or reserve rooms in Mackle Park for their charitable groups. This is unacceptable.

In central NJ you can go to any park and play tennis for free as long as there is a court available. There is no fee to use a local park facility or City Hall to host a club or charitable group meeting. In my NJ town, most of the recreational classes and evening indoor activities organized by the Parks and Recreation Department were held in the local elementary, middle, and high schools.

The largest chunk of tax dollars paid by Marco Islanders goes to fund our schools yet the facilities we pay for are off limits for our own use when school is not in session. This should change. We need to meet with our Collier County School Board to explore safe ways to open up our classrooms to our Parks and Recreation Department for after-hour use by clubs, senior citizen groups, and other programs.  This should  not affect the safety of our school children because all such use will occur after the normal school day has ended.

Marco Island is a cyclist’s paradise. Our bicycle lanes and multi-use paths provide miles of scenic peddling for folks of all ages. We have been blessed by the excellent work of the Ad Hoc Bike Path Committee. They have secured over $13,000,000 in funding and the last of their paths is in the planning stage. They have created the infrastructure and there should be dedicated funding allocated for repair, upgrades, and routine maintenance of the paths and sidewalks that create the bike path system. I also believe that we need a new Ordinance that mandates that vacant lot owners must pave their sidewalks so walkers and runners are not forced out into the streets. I have seen senior citizens with canes and walkers and people pushing baby carriages forced to walk in the street because the sidewalk ended and the ground was too uneven to safely walk on. This has to change.

The other thing that surprised me when I started looking into parks and recreational facilities was the absence of any water-based activities. There is no public pool, lake, or waterway access for canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. We are an island community blessed with warm temperatures and sunny days but have no public plan to take advantage of this. I’d like to see this change and have presented a 5 Year Blue/Green Plan to Perez Consulting, the group responsible for developing the 5 Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The creation of parkland and preservation of open space are key components of our Comprehensive and Strategic Plans that contribute to the high quality of life residents and visitors enjoy on Marco Island. They not only contribute to the high quality of life we enjoy on Marco Island but they also serve as a buffer against increased density and intensity. Expanding our Park System to include water-based activities and access will enhance our already excellent facilities and open up greater opportunities for everyone to get out and enjoy the water. Our children and grandchildren should have a public pool to swim in, access to safe inland paddling, and greater beach access with bathrooms and showers.

We can do these things if we have the will to go to a millage neutral tax rate, gain access to our school facilities, and seek out grant money targeted to parks and recreation and safe sidewalks.


  • Lobbied for and got the ALF developer to donate a new, 2 acre waterfront park to the City of Marco island. 
  • Developed a Blue/Green master Plan for Perez Consulting to integrate into their 5 Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
  • Supported Councilor Grifoni’s Sidewalk Ordinance that was defeated by the City Council.
  • Voted for every Ad. Hoc Bike Path Committee Proposal and funding request. 
  • Supported a stand-alone new PickleBall Facility separate from the City Racquet Center. 
  • Support a new Ordinance and signage regarding the safe use of E-bikes, motorized scooters and Segways.
  • Fought to keep the remaining surplus properties with water access from being sold. 

If Re-elected I will:

  • Advocate for free recreational services including tennis, pickleball, and use of Mackle Park rooms for community meetings.
  • Fight to see my Blue/Green Master Plan” incorporated into the Parks and Recreation Five Year Master Plan.
  • Advocate for a new Sidewalk Ordinance that mandates that all vacant sidewalks be paved at the owner’s expense.
  • Advocate for a new Bike Path Ordinance that creates rules and signage for use of all bike lanes and multiuse paths. 
  • Advocate for a line item in the budget for repair, upgrading and maintenance of all bike paths after completion of the current Ad Hoc Bike Path Committee plan.
  • Advocate for access to our public schools for evening recreational programs and senior citizens activities sponsored by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

4/22/24 Plan for Obtaining State Grants to Protect Habitat and Create More Open Space and Parkland

In this video I present my White Paper that described my plan to create a new City Fund (step 1) dedicated to preserving more threatened Gopher Tortoise and Burrowing Owl habitat as Open Space or Parkland. Step 2 is hiring a full-time Grant Writer or contracting with a Consultant to obtain Florida State Grants specifically targeted towards this use.

4/18/2024 A Blue/Green Parks and Recreation Master Plan

In this video I share my plan to create A Blue/Green Parks and Recreation Master Plan with the Waterways Advisory Committee (WAC). The plan describes how to utilize existing city-owned waterfront property to provide safe access to inland waterways for paddlers (paddleboards, canoes, kayaks).

4/16/2024 Why I Support the Proposed Owl Park

In this video I address the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) to express my support for the proposed Owl Park between Leland Ave and the multiuse path. I also thank Dr. Carlos Portu for his many years of service on PRAC.

3/18/2024 My Thoughts About Expanding Pickleball at the Racquet Center

In this City Council Meeting video I discuss my opposition to expanding Pickleball facilities at the Racquet Center. I describe my support for a new Pickleball Center that is not in a residential area like the current Racquet Center which for years only allowed tennis and indoor racquetball.

5/02/2022 Blonna/DuBlois 10 Point Action Plan Regarding Old Marco

In this video clip, Hayden DuBlois and myself describe our 10 Point Action Plan Regarding Old Marco Parking & Traffic Flow. A big part of our plan was to extend the bike lane from Bald Eagle all the way to Old marco and Palm St. to promote safe bicycling and walking. 

11/01/21 Concerns About Caxambas Park Commercial Use

In this video I express my concerns for the continued unrestricted commercial use of Caxambas Park and boat ramp. As an avid kayaker who launches out of Caxambas several times each month, I am well aware of the safety and traffic hazards posed by heavy use of the park during peak hours.

2/01/2021 Support of the ALF Public Park

In this video clip I discuss why I support the project with emphasis on the developer’s inclusion of the new 2 acre waterfront park. While I supported the revised proposal to reduce density, I was the key advocate for the inclusion of the beautiful waterfront part with its waterfront promenade and large beautiful park area across the street from City Hall.

White Papers Supporting Parks and Recreation

4/22/24 White Paper: A Two-Step Plan for Preserving More Open Space and Enhancing the City’s Parks and Recreation Programs

In this White Paper I discuss the need for creating a new City Fund dedicated to acquiring threatened habitat and other open space. I suggest seeding the fund with $500,000 and using that money to apply for matching grants from different funding sources. I also address the need for funding a new Grant Writer position or consultant with experience obtaining these types of grants.

4/18/24 White Paper: A Blue/Green Parks and Recreation Master Plan 

In this White Paper I describe a plan for opening up the safe inner-island waterways to non-motorized vessles (paddleboards, kayaks, canoes). There are over 100 miles of canals that offer calm, protected water for paddlers yet access is severly limited. This White Paper explains how to improve access using city-owned property.


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