When islanders awoke this morning, many of them might not have known that today - Nov. 5 - is the 35th anniversary of the City of Sanibel's incorporation.
On this date in 1974, an overwhelming 63.6 percent of votes were cast in favor of independence following an impassioned campaign for home rule.
"Sanibel is now a city, with all of the benefits and burdens that go with self-government," proclaimed the editorial on the front page of the Island Reporter that same week. "We can no longer blame our misfortunes on the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. In a few short weeks, we'll have our own City Council as a target for both brickbats and bouquets."
In the same article, our newspaper noted to the city to establish a list of priorities - work together as a community to plan and problem-solve; assume a civic responsibility and make it a model for all to see; bring together a sensibly balanced City Council; rely upon the leaders in Lee County as a partner in good government; and always protect and preserve what is ours on this island.
Some 35 years later, Sanibel is doing just that.
The city's Mission Statement claims "Sanibel is and shall remain a small town community whose members choose to live in harmony with one another and with nature, creating a human settlement distinguished by its diversity, beauty, uniqueness, character and stewardship."
Those of us who live here, work here or visit here agree - that proclamation could not be more correct.
Sanibel's 35th anniversary should be celebrated appropriately... but what do you get a city which seems to have everything it needs? All kidding aside, perhaps the best gift one could give on this occasion is to simply enjoy the fruits of our labors and - quite literally - "Celebrate Sanibel!"
Next week begins a six-day celebration of all things Sanibel, from the Island Club Expo on Sunday at the Community House to a Historic Beach Buffet at Casa Ybel Resort's Thistle Lodge on Friday and everything in between - including special events at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, Palm Ridge Garden, CROW's Healing Winds Visitor Education Center, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, BIG Arts, City Hall, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and more - the second annual "Celebrate Sanibel!" has something to offer for everyone.
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.celebratesanibel.com.
We encourage all of our readers to get out there and experience some of what makes Sanibel this very special place we hold near and dear in our hearts... no matter how old she gets.
- Reporter editorial