Posted by: swfloridarealestate | November 11, 2008

Red Sox Choosing Lee County Demonstrates Dedication of Citizens in the Midst of Adversity

Original Article seen on News-Press

Gerard Marino writes to the news-press about how adversity has helped Southwest Florida citizens to walk ” the extra mile” in their jobs and obligations to try and turn the market around.

I haven’t been writing my usual monthly article for the Commercial Connection lately. The truth is, I haven’t been able to find anything significantly positive to write about and we all know there is more than enough negative news these days.

But as often happens, when we least expect it, the unexpected happens. In this case, several unexpected events occurred in about a week’s time.

First, I happened upon a quote I wrote down some years ago, when times in Southwest Florida were prosperous: “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

The more I thought about it, the more truth I saw in those six words. Could this also apply to Southwest Florida, I pondered? Could these lean, difficult years actually yield something positive, something that might have been missed in more prosperous times?

The first answer came quickly, specifically, on Nov. 2, right on the front page of the Sunday News-Press: “Sox will call south Lee home.”

I couldn’t believe it. Lee County beat out Sarasota? How?

It happened because of adversity. The very real possibility of losing the Red Sox to Sarasota caused ordinary men, Lee County commissioners and John Yarbrough, an unpaid consultant, to do the extraordinary.

In conversations with other businessmen, it was generally agreed the odds of keeping the Red Sox here were nil. Most, including myself, were prepared for the headline telling us Fort Myers lost to Sarasota, because they are more “tony.”

However, keeping the Red Sox in Lee County isn’t the most important significant part of this story. It’s that these men committed Lee County to construct a mini-Fenway Park. I believe this single event could actually change the economic direction and mind-set of Southwest Florida.

While only history can determine the economic value of this financial commitment, their saying “second best is not good enough for Lee County anymore” is priceless. Thank you commissioners and Mr. Yarbrough. And thank you, adversity.

The next event happened when asked to list a commercial property on Fort Myers Beach. Not in the area of the pier and all the commercial activity, but a couple of miles south. But first, I had to inspect the property, take some photos and recommend its “highest and best use.”

Having some other business in Estero, I decided to drive up from Bonita Beach Road to see this property. I hadn’t driven this route in a while, and I didn’t expect anything new. However, driving over Little Carlos Pass, I was struck by the color of the water … it looked like the Caribbean! It was clear to the bottom with hints of greens. Birds were abundant and the entire area was spotless.

What happened? Adversity, hidden in a two-year drought, showed us the damage caused by the endless stream of nutrient-rich water flowing down the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee. Maybe we should thank adversity for exposing what might have taken years, if ever, to prove what was long suspected?

Continuing my drive, I noticed the cleaned up roads on Fort Myers Beach. And the store signs were smaller. And buildings were clean and painted and landscaping timed and neat.

Was this Fort Myers Beach or Palm Beach, I thought to myself? What happened? I think you know … adversity. Economic adversity. In order to survive, change was forced on the business owners and Beach decision makers. Thank you to those responsible. And again, thank you adversity.

I don’t like adversity more than anyone else. But I’m starting to suspect that adversity has exposed problems otherwise hidden in prosperity. Prosperity has a way of doing that.The promise of sunshine is no longer enough to drive our economy. There is good weather in other places too. And no longer is our housing relatively inexpensive, when taxes and insurance costs are considered.

To thrive again, Southwest Florida needs to become “special” again. It needs to become “more.” Having our own “mini-Fenway” is a first step. A big first step. Unspoiled beaches and clear tropical waters are other big steps. But to be economically complete, there is still more to do.

So maybe adversity isn’t so bad after all? It appears to have introduced us to ourselves.

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Responses

  1. […] swfloridarealestate wrote an interesting post today onOriginal Article seen on News-Press Gerard Marino writes to the …Here’s a quick excerptThe next event happened when asked to list a commercial property on Fort Myers Beach. Not in the area of the pier and all the commercial activity, but a couple of miles south. But first, I had to inspect the property, take some photos … […]

  2. […] swfloridarealestate wrote an interesting post today onOriginal Article seen on News-Press Gerard Marino writes to the …Here’s a quick excerptThe next event happened when asked to list a commercial property on Fort Myers Beach. Not in the area of the pier and all the commercial activity, but a couple of miles south. But first, I had to inspect the property, take some photos … […]

  3. Very true. Problems can be a good thing if you look at it in the right angle, and there’s nothing better than a crisis to start a new beginning in history 😉


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