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Project is not about tourists, it’s about island residents

By Staff | Jul 14, 2016

To the editor:

I strongly support the Civic and Culture Core concept as a wonderful collaboration between three major island resources that nearly all of us benefit from; Island Seniors Center 4 Life, the Sanibel Community Center and BIG ARTS.

As a long time supporter of BIG ARTS, as well as an initiator of several pilot programs for the organization I can speak from experience about the condition of their facilities and why the new Civic and Cultural Center proposal makes sense for our community.

All BIG ARTS facilities and meeting rooms need work and retrofitting what currently exists is not an option. Schein Hall’s depth from the stage/screen to the projection booth can not accommodate a larger screen, which might be used for the streaming of performances and/or educational talks and lectures in the future. Seating (folding chairs) and the stage have very limited production capability. Workshop rooms are inadequate and too few to accommodate scheduled programs. Office space is such that a satellite facility needs to be leased at an off site location. Parking is always a problem and drop off for attendees with physical limitations is a long way from the building and a safety issue. These are just a few issues of many.

BIG ARTS, the Community Center and the Center 4 Life are an important part of our island living. The enrichment they bring to our lives is what makes this a special place. It is not about “tourists,” but about our residents. A new Civic and Cultural Center will further enhance the quality of life we have all come to enjoy and expect.

Hats off to the team of island residents that have spent years studying options, keeping their eye on low cost and “dreaming” about how to make our little bit of paradise even more enchanting.

Let’s support the volunteer effort to help deliver a wonderful facility to all members of our community.

Meri Stevens Kulina