Recovering County Hitting Home Runs
Just before Christmas, the Charlotte County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department has received a $15,000 grant award from the Florida Sports Foundation for the Second Annual Port Charlotte Invitational 2005 College Baseball Classic, which will be held February 26 through April 2, 2005 at the Charlotte Sports Park, Charlotte County painfully realized there are too few places to stay for the fifty visiting college baseball teams. Hurricane Charley removed many of the rooms that were available in 2004. In fact, only two of the hotels or motels listed in the Williams College homepage are in Charlotte County. Check http://www.williamsrecord.com/portcharlotte/ for information and schedules about the games, which were a huge success for everyone last year. The returning teams and families have found a friendly, comfortable area to visit and play baseball. They will see the fallen light tower at the main stadium that reminds us of our past year.
Our County employees suffered just like everyone else, but their response has been pretty much above and beyond just “normal.” Many had their homes completely destroyed; almost all suffered damage of some kind. Just about everyone with the County has been pretty much stretched to the limit, and still doing what we expect them to do everyday, and often more.
We have a County Commission that has dealt with the unexpected crisis of a natural disaster while trying to implement a bold, if controversial economic and cultural expansion of the county. The voters last fall said, “Yes!” and the direction Charlotte County has taken is forward while holding true to the comprehensive planning and growth plans.
We now have one of the finest Sheriffs in the State. Someone the entire department and the community can respect. The Sheriff’s Department has suffered from the inappropriate actions of a few, but the others work even harder to erase those effects and have proven to be more than worthy.
Charlotte County School Board and all the teachers and employees have earned the respect of educators around the state. The juggling and rescheduling has been monumental. The students and parents who have endured the rescheduling and the travel have been as patient and hardworking as anyone else.
Many of our development problems resulted from sales planning for maximum profit per available acre. Those decisions were not made by or for the people who are now Charlotte County. Now, we have the people and we have the direction. The decisions aren’t easy. Developers want to maximize profits from available properties while homeowners want to see their neighborhoods protected against change. This has been, and will always be, the battle for Florida
Traffic may double before your 4th grader graduates from high school. That is a simple economic forecast. Don’t blink, that 4th grader will be asking for the car keys the next time you turn around. Hopefully, he or she may want to drive to the stadium to watch a College Invitational baseball game.
George Mindling © 2005
George Mindling © 2005