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Youth baseball and trash bins do not mix

--Guest commentary--

December 11, 2013
By Charlie Whitehead , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Little League season is but a few weeks away and once again the youth of the community of Fort Myers Beach will be running and laughing on the fields at Bay Oaks.

Already the ranks of the Bay Oaks Social Seniors, the wait for a tennis court, the use of the pool, and the myriad other uses here at the heart of the community are growing. The center remains busy with the Teen Club, After-School Program and many classes and other uses that run year-round.

Unfortunately, our area also has seen its first Red Tide of the winter. And, unfortunately, for all those people participating in all those programs, the dumpsters that store the dead fish as well as the garbage from the busy beach accesses and other public areas in town are still sharing their space.

The Little League, the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Advisory Committee, Beach Soccer and others are asking the Town Council to move the garbage transfer station really a storage area for garbage away from Bay Oaks.

At times the stench is literally overpowering. The dumpsters are a dangerous attractive nuisance, directly next to the left-field fence where T-ballers play, alongside the heavily-used bike and pedestrian path between Topps, the fields, the pool, the rec center and Fort Myers Beach Elementary School next-door.

At the Dec. 2 council meeting, town officials said options have been explored, but no alternative has been found. We frankly believe that if the residents of the community of Fort Myers Beach make their feelings known the Town Council members will agree we believe they already agree and will make sure a more suitable location for the dumpsters is found.

We ask that residents of Fort Myers Beach and users of Bay Oaks tell their Town Council people how they feel. Council members are our friends the beauty of small-town government and of our own community and need to have our advice and our support for what may be a difficult search for a solution that will not be free.

Tell them that you think the place where the children of Fort Myers Beach spend most of their time is the wrong place for the town to put its garbage. Remind them it is the role of government to provide for and protect those most vulnerable. Tell them tax money is your money, and if they have to spend it for a place to dump the garbage that's not on the doorstep of the pool, the rec center, the Little League fields and the place so much of the community calls home that's OK.

--Charlie Whitehead is a former longtime president of the Fort Myers Beach Little League and currently serving as vice president.



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