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Artist's rendering of a proposed new Mackle Park community center.
Artist's rendering of a proposed new Mackle Park community center. / Special to the Sun Times

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During the last 9 years no project has been vetted and discussed more than that of the replacement of the aging Mackle Park Community Center.

The talking may quickly be coming to an end and the time for action may finally be upon those that will make a final vote on the future of this much debated project.

On Tuesday, islanders gave councilmen a clear signal when over 52.42 percent of those casting ballots gave a thumbs up on the project, meeting the requirement many councilors were asking for before they would move forward on the project to replace the 30-year-old building.

At the end of the night when all the ballots were counted, 2,059 votes were cast in favor of the new building and 1,869 against, providing a 190-vote margin in the affirmative. Early returns showed a smaller margin but grew when the total vote was tabulated. The total turnout was close to what Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards had predicted for the referendum.

Those familiar with the project cite the newly designed building as being a more reasoned and palatable plan for islanders.

“We took a step back and looked at the need versus the want,” said Council Chairman Ken Honecker as he commented on why voters took another look at the project and voted for it during the Tuesday Primary election.

When reached last night in Michigan Councilman Bob Brown echoed Honecker’s comments and said the revised plans he saw were the right way to go. “This is a common sense building which will meet the needs of the majority of Marco Islanders,” said Brown.

The project is closer to being a reality, but nothing is set in stone until council reviews its options later in the fall. A review of construction techniques, staging of the potential project and its relationship to a number of discussion concerning further development at Veterans Community Park are all lurking on the horizon.

For now local residents who supported the referendum are quite happy, but won’t be satisfied until the new facility is a reality.

A total of 3,928 voters cast their ballots, giving those in favor of the project a 52.42 percent margin.

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