In Search of Civil Discourse

A Message from TEAM CEO Nancy Johnson
Summertime might be a little slower in Punta Gorda, but the business of city government does not stop. In fact, a lot is going on. As we wrestle with the wisdom of the various development opportunities that are being presented to us, I’d like to offer a few thoughts about development and civility. During leaner economic times, there were no public development opportunities to discuss. Now the situation has changed. Our town needs to build a year-round economy and we would all like to see the “missing teeth” in our downtown filled in. In order for this to happen we’ll need to work together to shape our town once again. This will require a proactive approach to growth management, including the examination of best practices from other communities like ours.
Citizens will need to engage in a dialogue about changes as they are proposed, but the nature of the dialogue says a lot about who we are as a community. The conversation should be open, transparent, respectful and civil. Too often lately it has been rude, angry and mean-spirited. This is not the Punta Gorda way.
Change will come whether we want it to or not. Times change, the economy changes and new opportunities present themselves. It’s important that we encourage the right kind of change. TEAM Punta Gorda was founded to protect the unique character of Punta Gorda after the devastation that was Hurricane Charley. It was not left to a few leaders to say what the town wanted and needed, but rather for the citizens of the community to determine a shared vision for the future. The right to question our leaders is fundamental to our democracy but it should be done with respect and also with some understanding of the issues being discussed. Let’s seek those opportunities that support the vision we have for our community.
Despite our summer slowdown, many TEAM PG volunteers are still working to serve the community. TEAM Punta Gorda was happy to assist the Charlotte County Department of Facilities in convening a group to select new paint colors for the Charlotte County Event Center, which crowns the gateway to Punta Gorda. A work group was formed and the job was completed this week. Their recommendations will now go to the County Commissioners for approval.
A small group of TEAM Punta Gorda volunteers has been working with the city to develop improved kayak launching facilities in Punta Gorda. They met with Punta Gorda planning staff as well as the engineer working on the Ponce Park design to see how kayak launch sites could be incorporated into the plan. A loyal group of TEAM Punta gorda volunteers keeps those yellow bikes serviced and rolling down the Harborwalk all summer long. As TEAM Punta Gorda re-groups for fall we have a number of leadership posts we’d like to fill. We’re looking for experienced leaders to help with several administrative posts including finance. We also can use co-chairs for several committees. If you’d like to discuss the possibilities, just give us a call.
Note:  TEAM Punta Gorda will take a short break from June 15th to August 15th