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Serving the community of Ave Maria, Florida


Oil Well Rd Project Will Create Recreational Lake in Ave Maria

The long-awaited widening of Oil Well Rd. will also provide Ave Maria residents with a recreational lake, Tom Sansbury of Barron Collier told a regular meeting of the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District Tuesday.

Mr. Sansbury, who represents the town developers at the meetings, said that two pits will be dug near the Oil Well Rd. entrance to Ave Maria and when work is completed they will become lakes of 60 and 40 acres. The smaller lake, Mr. Sansbury said, will not be part of the town's system for water supply and so will be available for recreational uses such as boating or fishing.

The Oil Well Rd project is currently out for bid and Mr. Sansbury said that the bids will be in before Thanksgiving and the project will be awarded within 45 days of receipt of the bids. The project that will widen part of Oil Well Rd. from the Ave Maria entrance and west to six lanes, and part from Immokalee Rd. to just east of Everglades Blvd. to four lanes, will take take 18 months to two years, Mr. Sansbury said.

Mr. Sansbury also reported that both Verizon and AT&T were providing service from a new cell phone tower built near South Park. He said that the tower currently provides basic service and he was checking with the carriers on when promised 3G service would be available. He also asked that residents get in touch with the Ave Maria offices in Ave Maria if they use either Verizon or AT&T and have not noticed a service improvement.

Rocky Start to Meeting

The meeting began on a testy note as residents Marielena Stuart and Robb Klucik exchanged words after Mrs. Stuart asked about a report on an anonymous blog about a Florida state audit of the AMSCD. Mrs. Stuart wanted to know what the board's reaction was to the blog's quotation from the audit that "The District has not met one or more of the financial emergency conditions described in Section 218.503(1), Florida Statues."

Mr. Klucik said that he had read the full audit report and it found no issues with the district. He added that the blog in question, AveWatch, frequently took comments out of context to portray Ave Maria unfavorably and was produced by person whom he identified by name as a disgruntled former professor at the Ave Maria College campus in Michigan.

The snippy discussion prompted board member Liesa Priddy, who was acting as chairman, to call a five-minute recess after which she noted that the district has not adopted formal rules for resident participation because it wanted to promote dialog, but said "there is a need to be courteous."

Todd Wodraska, the district manager, said that the audit found no issues whatsoever on which the district was not in compliance with state guidelines and regulations. He said that the the particular passage in the audit report is clumsily worded and actually refers to the fact that the district has not met a threshold viewed by the state as an emergency condition. "It's a good thing," he said.

The board asked its counsel to read the audit and the blog post and report back.

Mrs. Stuart also said that meeting minutes and audio recordings of the meetings had not been posted on the AMSCD website for recent meetings. Mr. Wodraska promised that both minutes of all past meetings and the minutes and audio from the Nov. 3 meeting would be posted promptly.

In other actions the board:

- approved a scheduled transfer of land from the developers to the district;
- approved a replat that would show Anthem Parkway as it now exists on the official plan, a move that would obviate the district from maintaining a $120,000 surety bond;
- approved the final financial statement for the fiscal year 2008-2009.

Mr. Wodraska said that at the current time, there did not appear to be issues that would warrant holding the next monthly meeting scheduled for Dec. 1 but the final decision will be made and communicated in the week before the meeting.


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