We suspect that last Monday afternoon was a pretty quiet day here on the beach. Most Island residents had either driven to Florida SouthWestern State College for the downtown development presentation or were glued to their computer screens for the live streaming of the event provided by FSW.

As our story in this issue explains, it’s a huge concept and takes a while to grasp all the parts of the whole. Lee County Commission Chairman Frank Mann was at his folksy best, but accurate, on Monday when he said, “It’s more than you can swallow in one sitting.”

We urge Islanders to take the time and look closely at the concept. Our story provides links to the website that has a summary and some photos/sketches. What parts do you like? What do you think will be good for the Island? What parts worry you? Could they be changed into something that would be beneficial to the Island? How so? Think about this, analyze it – look at the positives and negatives, because you have been invited to participate in this process. Don’t turn down that opportunity.

This is not a done deal – don’t let the professional presentation Monday fool you. It needs your input.

We heard repeatedly on Monday, from Town and County officials plus the developers themselves that they were only presenting a concept and the hard work is ahead – that of taking public comment and working with the Town and County to hone this concept into something that is acceptable to all three entities. I almost said everyone there, but we all know that the prospect of pleasing every single resident of our Island is just about as attainable as world peace tomorrow. A lovely concept, but not very realistic.

There are bound to be a lot of opinions shared with us as Letters to the Editor – something that we always encourage and love to share with readers. We had more than we had space for this week and will be printing as many letters as we possibly can over the next few weeks on this subject. We encourage letter writers to aim for a maximum of 300 words. We have that limit so that we can share as many different voices as possible each week. We occasionally print longer opinions as Guest Commentaries, but we already have plenty of longer opinions on this topic, some of which will run next week, so any more really long letters that come in will be edited to 300 words so there’s room for other letters.

Mark your calendars for Monday, December 14th at 5:30pm because you will want to participate in the meeting to be held at Chapel by the Sea. The developer’s presentation will be repeated and public comment will be taken. Show up and be a part of this.

Let’s Brighten Up Our Town

It’s the season of twinkling lights and bright shiny bows, when many of us decorate our homes and businesses in celebration of Christmas. However, driving down Estero this week, it occurred to us that our Island is looking a little…well, raggedy, what with the Bob’s Barricades, torn up street and piles of sand and rock scattered along Estero Blvd.

What our Island could use is a little infusion of color! And light! And Christmas!

How much more cheerful and welcoming would our Island look totally festooned with Christmas lights? Everywhere you look – Christmas lights — what a great thing that would be for our Island to be known for!

Let’s light up our Island!

Pull out the Christmas lights and put them up – everywhere! We’re partial to multi-colored lights, but if you’re a fan of white lights, go for it! Work, home, everywhere!

Not everyone is, what we call a Christmas Elf, someone who loves the season, loves to decorate and just brightens up in December. But we bet that most every business has an employee who IS an Elf. And if you give them a $20 bill or so and tell them to go wild with lights-they would gladly. Same thing at home. Someone can figure out how to put lights in the trees or on the gutters or in the windows.

To encourage participation, we’re going to hold an impromptu lighting contest for Island residents and businesses. (Shhh…don’t tell the publisher.) We will offer a prize of a $100 credit at Pete’s Time Out for the best business lighting and $100 credit at The Beached Whale for the best home lighting. Judging will be by the completely unofficial Sand Paper Elf Crew during the week of December 13th. Winners announced in the Christmas Day Sand Paper.

Contest Rules: Any color lights qualify. More is better. This is not about subtlety. Absolutely no decorating of Bob’s Barricades. (Safety first – don’t overload circuits; use the correct extension cords.) Nominations are welcome, drop us a note or call us 239-463-4461 and point us in the right direction so we don’t miss any great lighting displays.

Let’s light up our Island this month!

Missy Layfield