Holmes Beach commissioners hope to spruce up the city in the new year.
And to maintain the environment.
“Positive things are coming to this city,” Commissioner Pat Morton said Dec. 26, 2018. “Some people think I’m crazy to keep doing this, but I love our city.”
The city is working up plans to revamp and reorganize the recreational area adjacent to city hall — city field in the 5800 block of Marina Drive, as well as remake the unused baseball field for recreation and expansion of the dog park, create a bike and pedestrian path, improve stormwater infiltration and review the city charter.
Morton, who has lived on the island for 23 years, has served on the commission 16 years, with another term and two more underway.
He said his wish for 2019 is for more people to participate in civic affairs.
“I’d like more people to get involved, as we do listen and want feedback from the community,” Morton said.
Mayor Judy Titsworth said she is excited for projects planned to enhance Holmes Beach, as well as the charter review, but has concerns for the state of the local environment.
“My wish for the new year is the continued prosperity of our city,” Titsworth said. “I hope that stewardship plays a key role in our charter and comprehensive reviews and, even more importantly, in the protection of our natural resources.”
She continued, “I hope for the local, state and federal government to take a more proactive role in understanding and preventing massive blooms of blue green algae and red tide.”
The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, has been affecting the Gulf coast of Florida since August 2018, causing environmental and economic problems on the island.
Additionally, concerns have risen about pollution in Spring Lake, which is surrounded by residential properties and a pocket park between 68th and 70th streets and Holmes Boulevard and Marina/Palm drives.
“I hope Spring Lake gets revived to its original, beautiful form,” said Commissioner Kim Rash, adding, “the mayor, commissioners and city officials will work together to ensure the residents are being heard.”
Commissioner Rick Hurst said he too is concerned for the environment.
“My hope is that we continue to successfully implement infrastructure changes designed to reduce flooding and counter future sea-level rise,” Hurst said.
He added that he hopes continued improvements to city field and updated vacation rental regulations “will help create a safe and peaceful environment for our residents and visitors.”