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Let’s set the record straight

January 11, 2017
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

To the editor:

In last week's Islander (Dec. 28, 2016) Dr. Raffensperger tried to establish the idea that the Civic and Cultural Core Project was against the Sanibel Plan and bad for the island. While he is entitled to his opinion, which he offers often and freely: he is not entitled to the distortion of the facts, miss-representations, and fear mongering overstatements.

The letter starts with a six to nine times overstatement and misrepresentation. It states the project "will convert 13.5 acres of wetlands into walkways, buildings, and a 529 to 600 car parking lot." The facts are less than 2 acres of wetlands, which would need to be mitigated and 254 parking spots on the remaining 11.5 acres of upland on the land in question.

The letter goes on to miss-state that the proposed concert hall will seat 1,000 people, which means an additional 500 plus cars on the island. I don't know where he got than data, but the plan published many times in the papers, calls for one-half that many seats in the performance hall and the total seats of all performance venues would actually be less than today. It is about better, not bigger.

The doctor then presents himself as the self-appointed interpreter of the Sanibel Plan and selects a few sentences and concludes that the project "violates the plan." Porter Goss, first mayor of Sanibel and co-author of the Sanibel Plan states, "I think the plans that I have seen (of the Cultural Core) are absolutely perfect. I think they fit the harmony of the island... now is the time."

The Civic Core concept and the master plan were developed in public workshops several years ago and have been in the papers and on the website at for over a year, along with news articles and the PowerPoint presentation made in March to the public. The Civic Core is about some new facilities, but it is also about a park, a garden courtyard, bike paths, reducing traffic congestion by getting major events off Periwinkle, and about a real center for the residents to gather. Check it out on the website. It is a much more reliable source.

Ralph Clark




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