By Dave Feight, GSAC Board Member
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Coming off the pandemic and a devasting hurricane, the GSAC board in 2023 raised our activity level to a new high. We continue to believe in our mission of communication, education, beautification, and civic advocacy.

We have a highly engaged volunteer board, all of whom play an important role in our success. ALL spend considerable time on GSAC work.

Early in 2023, we conducted an insurance survey to help GSAC presidents and managers understand the current state of flood insurance payments. That followed an earlier insurance forum with flood claim experts.

At our request, Naples Community Policing Officer Jeff Perry explained the security benefits of surveillance cameras at the Harbour and Park Shore Drive bridges. The board agreed with his analysis and approved an expenditure of $52,000 to purchase the cameras. They were installed in the spring and are operational.

In March, GSAC held a Water Quality Forum. City Councilman Ray Christman secured the subject matter experts and moderated the forum. Over 160 attended to learn about water quality, particularly in the Gulf, bays, and estuaries; stormwater management post-Ian; beach restoration and renourishment; and management of lakes, among other issues.

Early in the year, we began to engage with senior NCH executives, including Paul Hiltz, CEO, on their proposed Heart, Vascular and Stroke Institute. We continued to advocate for the project throughout the year through letters to City Council and appearances at Council meetings. Council approved the rezone petition last week. The additional approvals will hopefully take place on February 7.

EV charging has become an important issue for many condos. A resident committee researched and presented a white paper on the current state of EV Charging in April. Plans are underway for a EV webinar in mid- February that will include subject experts on insurance, legal and charging installations.

Throughout the last year, and continuing this year, our Resiliency Committee, closely followed the Army Corp of Engineers Coastal Strom Risk Management study. Tentative recommendations are expected in late 2024. GSAC also participated in the City’s resiliency workshop.

The 700-foot portion of the GSBN seawalls that were destroyed by Hurricane Irma were replaced in 2023. That was the result of a long-term GSAC effort. Plans for replacing additional segments are being developed.

Small cell towers are beginning to appear on GSBN, with the first in the median just south of Harbour Drive. We are working with the City to make sure they are in the best locations and have as little visual impact as possible.

In addition to having City staff and Council members attend GSAC board meetings, we were privileged to have the new police chief, Ciro Dominguez, attend our November Board meeting. He laid out his strategy to keep the City safe and secure. It is a very impressive plan.

The GSAC newsletter continues to excel. There are over 4,000 GSAC residents, as well as others across the City, on the mailing list. The “open” rate consistently exceeds 75% which far exceeds industry norms. It has become the “go-to” publication for items of interest to our readers.

The highlight of the year took place in November when we partnered with the Park Shore Association to hold a “thank you” luncheon for all City employees to recognize them for their work in recovering from Hurricane Ian. Held at Baker Park, nearly 350 employees attended. The mood was upbeat and had a tremendous impact on City Staff morale.

Closing out the calendar year, we again participated in the Naples Police Department’s “fill a police car” event that distributes toys for under privileged children. Our toy contribution alone almost filled the car!

We expect 2024 to be just as active.

The January board meeting was focused on our members. Steve Beckman, a City Building official, briefed us on the upcoming milestone inspection requirements and dates. There also was a demonstration of a flood panel system that some GSAC members are deploying.

Currently we are immersed in planning the Candidate Forum that will take place on January 29. This is a very important City election that will include the Mayor and 3 Council seats. It’s vital residents understand the issues and the candidate’s position.

At the February GSAC board meeting, Andy Miller from County Staff and Natalie Hardman of the City will talk with us about dune and berm planting that will help prevent beach erosion.

And as previously mentioned there also will be an EV Charging webinar in February.

In March, we are planning a Forum on Resiliency, which will again be led by Councilman Ray Christman and several experts.

I think I’ll stop there. I hope you agree that your dues are providing a substantial benefit.

Before I close, I want to thank Cyndee Wooley, who last year took on the administrative role in addition to the terrific work she does on our communications like the newsletter. She makes us all look great.

And I want to thank every board member for their work and support. We have a team that is the best I’ve experienced in the 14 years I’ve been associated with GSAC. Thank you.

In particular, I want to thank Ginny Veras for being a diligent treasurer and keeping us in line financially.

And most importantly I want to thank you, the members, for your continued and growing interest in GSAC.

We will continue to work hard to earn your support.