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Where was SCCF during Doc Ford’s controversy?

By Staff | May 20, 2015

To the editor:

By this time next year, we will have another new restaurant on Sanibel as Doc Ford’s will re-locate to the Island Inn-Tarpon Bay Road complex (and there will most likely be another restaurant going in its place at Rabbit Road, no?).

We will get to see how an additional 50-100 cars at lunchtime blend in with traffic going to/from the Post Office, Baileys, the highly popular Over Easy Cafe, 7-11, and George and Wendy’s Grille.

And, oh yes, Billy’s Bikes has a new outlet in the Bailey Shopping Center, so we can add to the mix the septuagenarians who have not ridden a bike in 30 years and the six year olds who are struggling to stay upright, all coming together at the double crosswalk at Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay Road.

Do I hear the need to two policemen, one for cars, one for bikes? Am I mad at Doc Ford’s for taking advantage of this piece of property to expand its operations from what it now has on San-Cap Road?

Well, maybe a little bit.

But what has me baffled is why the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation did not buy up this 2.5 acre piece of property when it had the chance.

It would have been a natural- adjoining the Sanibel Garden Preserve, putting another large piece of property in the hands of conservation (as they did with the Bailey Homestead), keeping our island’s reputation as the “Sanctuary Island” intact.

Certainly the cost of the property should not have been a deterrent, as we saw SCCF raise over $5 million dollars (in five months) in 2012 to buy up the Bailey Homestead.

One comes to the conclusion that SCCF has made a Faustian agreement with Doc Ford’s to not oppose Doc Ford’s purchase of the land in exchange for the latter’s continuing financial support of SCCF fundraising programs.

I get it now – John Raffensberger had it right- the Island is now being run by the Chamber of Commerce, the restaurants, and all of the “non-profits” in their quests to expand their endowments, expand their programs, expand their facilities, and coordinate with one another to develop to the maximum what has not been developed.

Apparently private fundraising from individuals, which has been so successful in the past for SCCF, is not enough to fatten its coffers.

Do we need a new mission statement?

John A. MacLennan