City holds ribbon-cutting ceremony for Jordan Marsh park
The Jordan Marsh Water Quality Treatment Park officially opened to the public last week.
On March 1, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new project, at 790 Casa Ybel Road. Featuring trails and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, the park will improve water quality in the Sanibel Slough and help meet the state’s water quality standards, while enhancing wildlife habitat, providing recreational opportunities and educating about water quality improvement practices.
“Sanibel has certainly tried to be a leader when it comes to water quality,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said during the ribbon cutting. “We continue to lead by example.”
Construction on the project began in September.
The park is situated on six acres of city-owned land known as the Jordan Marsh Preserve and 1.3 acres of land on the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Tract.
The project was funded through the South Florida Water Management District’s Cooperative Funding Program, plus monies from the Lee County community park impact fees and budgeted city funds.
“It’s been a collaborative effort,” Ruane said. “We appreciate all the partnerships.”
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Chief Executive Officer Ryan Orgera spoke on the organization providing land for the project. He explained that the protection of land is a high priority and SCCF only considers giving it up if doing so will provide a “net conservation gain” for all.
“What you are looking at here is a cutting-edge project,” Orgera said.
Vice Mayor Mick Denham noted that years ago the city looked at other communities on the issue of water quality and realized that it had better be doing its part before pointing its finger at others.
“Best practices for water quality on-island are second to none,” he said of the current status.
“It’s been six years in the planning to make this happen,” Denham added of the park.
Councilmember Jason Maughan recalled growing up on the island and the state of the property.
“I really don’t think it was the best habitat that we could offer,” he said, adding that the improvements to the site have changed that in terms of improving water quality and enhancing it for wildlife.
Councilmember Holly Smith credited residents and the community, as well.
“You helped direct us in what we do,” she said, noting that the park will benefit current and future generations. “We are doing and will continue to do what you see here.”
Councilmember Chauncey Goss expressed pride in the new park.
“This is what I call a grand grand slam,” he said.