Barrier Island Parks Society approves new board members, discusses plans for upcoming season

November 18, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

The Barrier Island Parks Society held its annual board meeting on Monday, November 14 inside the Amory Memorial Chapel at Gasparilla Island State Park.
sharonThree new board members were proposed and approved: Richard Klepser, Sandy Wynja and Dr. Tom Ervin. There are currently 20 members serving. Board members serve a three-year term limit, with an option for a second term.
Vice President Linden Hustedt called the meeting to order. Hustedt welcomed the new members.
Sharon McKenzie, BIPS executive director, thanked the departing board members for their time and service. McKenzie discussed the gift and investment policy and asked members to review it. She also reviewed the investment policy for the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse project, actually a temporary policy for the project.
“We will need to write an updated one to reflect future maintenance and upkeep looking ahead, but this covers us through the year,” McKenzie said.
Hustedt suggested that a board retreat should be planned in the beginning of 2017, as one has not been held for nearly eight years. “It’s good practice to spend time to review our structure and mission,” he said. “We will start our January meeting by dedicating a few hours to discussing our organization and our goals. We’ll spend about half of the day meeting with facilitators.” McKenzie said she has been working with facilitators to meet this goal.
Treasurer Ched McConnell was not in attendance, but the treasury report was discussed. “We’re hoping to bring in $358,000 in funds this year,” McKenzie said.
The proposed budget includes retail, museum and administration costs. Hustedt added that the bottom line numbers should be the same as last year. “We’re healthy and solvent at the moment,” he said.
Gasparilla Island Administration Park Manager Chad Lach requested a new multi-use golf cart for Gasparilla Park. He has already spoken with Thoroughbred Golf Carts, and it would cost $14,500. A motion to approve the purchase via the Gasparilla Island Light funds was suggested, if a contingent agreement could be solidified that park rangers would manage and maintain the seven acres around the Gasparilla Island Light. This would include bird and turtle counting. The motion passed unanimously.
A question arose about the entrance and exit traffic in and out of the park with respect to the Hill Tide Estates property. Lach said he is trying to work with the County as well as the developers to possibly develop a roundabout at the entrance area to ease traffic flow. This is a discussion that will be continued as development proceeds.
Lach is also trying to bring kayak rentals to Stump Pass Park. “I think it would be quite a profitable business there, because 200,000 to 300,000 people visit the park annually,” he said. Improvements to Cayo Costa over the summer included painting the cabins and replacing the mattresses. Rangers are also in the process of installing some new solar products to help alleviate the stress on the power supply to the island. Retail and audit committee member David Ferrie said the goal for the two stores for this season is $400,000 in gross sales.
“We try to keep our inventories low, but we still plan to open the season with the stores looking full, even though storage space is an issue,” he said.
McKenzie said a portion of the Amory Chapel would serve as a new park museum in the future. There is also current construction being done to renovate the back of the building into a BIPS office.
The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 12.