Everyone loves to complain. It’s so much easier for people to whine and gripe about something than it is for them to say nice things. It’s like that old adage – one good experience is kept mainly to one’s self, while one bad experience is related to all one’s friends and associates.

If there were nothing to complain about, I might not have so much material for this column (insert Internet-based wink-and-smile emoticon here).

There are some exceptions to this rule. Some of the Internet travel sites like TripAdvisor actually have contributors with nice things to say. And it’s a good thing that travelers who have had great experiences at resorts, restaurants, and attractions will actually take the time to tell other travelers about them. It’s also instructive to read the responses of the owners or managers to the occasional disgruntled traveler who posts a negative review.

Another exception to this rule is today’s column! There are a few things going on that are somewhat obvious, but the good things aren’t the items that usually get the headlines. So today, we focus on the good, and leave the bad for another day.

Anyone driving down Marathon’s Main Street, US Highway 1, would have to be blind not to notice the transformation going on in the medians between 107th Street and Aviation Boulevard. Beautiful palm trees are adding a touch of tropical greenery to our main corridor, and this is such a welcome occurrence for so many reasons.

Way back when, over ten years ago when I used to be on our City Council, beautification of the US 1 corridor was an issue we bantered about. A lot. It was everyone’s advice and consensus that we wait until sewers were done so that no plantings would have to be dug up. As Councils changed and progress happened on the wastewater front, several local residents never lost sight of some of Marathon’s beautification goals. For that, I am certainly most appreciative.

The CIAB (Community Image Advisory Board) created by the Marathon City Council has put in many hours of hard work to help achieve this goal. They worked with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the City Council and city staff, the Marathon Chamber of Commerce, and concerned residents to make this landscaping project a reality. They even got palm trees!!! Thanks to the CIAB members: Pete Chapman, Linnea Cunningham, Pink Gidseg, Patty Ivey, Britt Myers, and Michael Welber for their volunteer work in making this happen. Thanks also go the Franco D’Ascanio and D’Asign Source for their valuable contributions to local landscaping projects as well.

The FDOT was instrumental in helping Marathon realize another goal dating back several years. Recently, the end of Sombrero Beach Road in front of the actual Sombrero Beach has been completed, and my, oh my, what a difference. Instead of those awful speed bumps, broken asphalt, and coral dust, there now exists elevated “brick” crosswalks, smooth parking, and a beautiful landscaped turnaround at the end of the road. Thanks go to the Council, the City Manager and city staff, and the FDOT for completing the Sombrero Beach Road project.

City Community Services Director Susie Thomas also told me about the cool new plantings at the entrance to Coco Plum Beach. It really enhances the entrance, while the beach remains in its natural, unspoiled state. If you haven’t been to the beach – either one – for a while, go see how good they look!

It’s so nice to have good things to report about our community, especially ones that have come into reality through the hard work of people who care about where they live. There are many unsung heroes in the Keys who volunteer on various boards and devote a lot of their time and efforts into making our islands even better than they already are. They may not always grab the front page, but their work is evident every time we drive down a nicely landscaped road, or go to the beach, or just kick back in our tropical island home. We really do live in a tropical island paradise. Let’s keep the good things in mind the next time we decide to complain about things.

Unless it’s about windstorm insurance… (insert Internet-based wink-and-smile emoticon here).


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