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Harrity’s Sanibel pride fuels his interest in public service

By Staff | Feb 4, 2009

Former Sanibel Mayor and current City Councilman Marty Harrity says he’s got one reason for seeking re-election to the Sanibel City Council: “I love Sanibel,” he said.

Harrity points to the team ethic of the current City Council as reason enough to return current city councilors to their seats.

“I am a member of a good team on City Council and we ask you to vote to keep us working for you, especially in these trying times,” said Harrity.

With the City facing declining revenues as a result of declining real estate values, Harrity expressed concern for the City’s financial future.

“This is a time for experience, not on-the-job training,” he said. “This is all happening at the same time as funds from federal, state and county government sources are also drying up. Anyone can understand that there will be significant decreases in revenue for the city.”

Citing the devastating economic downturn as one of Sanibel’s biggest challenges, Harrity pointed to the current council’s pro-active approach to responsible fiscal management as evidence of their effectiveness.

“Thankfully, this City Council has anticipated these events and has worked to decrease expenses while keeping all essential services at normal levels,” he said. “This Council continues to evaluate the City’s financial outlook on an ongoing basis to keep Sanibel ahead of the game and on the right path.”

Harrity and his wife, Brenda, first brought their family to Sanibel Island as vacationers in 1982, and bought their first condominium residence on the island in 1985.

“The rest is history,” said Harrity, who made a name for himself among local student athletes as a baseball and football coach at Bishop Verot High School, as well as the Sanibel Recreation Center. “In fact, some of the original kids I coached will be voting for me in this election March 3rd,” said Harrity proudly.

Education is an issue that is near and dear to Harrity’s heart, as evidenced by his work leading the drive to expand educational opportunity at The Sanibel School, where classes at the time were only offered to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Adding classes through the eighth grade helped bring a wonderful education on Sanibel to more island and local students,” he said.

Harrity’s pride in his public service accomplishments do not end with the Sanibel School expansion. Citing a list that includes construction of the new bridge, lessening of traffic congestion and the team effort of the County Commission, the Lee County School District, the Sanibel City Council and Sanibel residents themselves in the development of the new Sanibel Recreation Center, Harrity says there are many reasons to be proud of his involvement in many of Sanibel’s achievements.

“The very finest day is the day the Sanibel Recreation Center opened,” said Harrity of his most unforgettable moment in public or community service. “Teamwork, dedication, cooperation, leadership, and guts were the factors that brought together widely diverse people, opinions and directions to create an opportunity for all people of Sanibel. The smiles on their faces, and the joy they have while participating in recreation and sports are the rewards that make the efforts totally all worthwhile for we who saw the project through to its completion.”

When asked what he likes most about Sanibel, Harrity mulled the merits of a list of dozens of things before settling upon an answer: “The very best thing about Sanibel is the people who live here, love it and want to make Sanibel even better.”

Harrity said that he is particularly proud to be a part of a community where people never hesitate to lend a helping hand.

“If there is a need for any worthwhile project, or if anyone needs help of any kind, the people of Sanibel are right there, and won’t quit until the job is done,” he said. “That is self-evident in the fact that there are dozens of organizations devoted to every imaginable good cause, and they are all supported very well by all the people, regardless of race, religion, color or creed. The people of Sanibel are the team that makes the city so wonderful for all.”

(Editor’s Note: There are three Sanibel City Council seats up for election in March. Those seats are currently occupied by Mayor Mick Denham, Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane, and Councilman Marty Harrity. All three incumbents have filed for candidacy, as well as Dr. David Berger and David Bath. This article is the fourth in a series of weekly profiles on each of the candidates.)