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TEAM Punta Gorda Newsletter
TopJoanne and Richard Collins, Editors
                                            May 2016
In This Issue
TEAM Punta Gorda's Last Month's Newsletter
Pedal & Play - 2 Days of Fun in Punta Gorda
Hundreds of bikers rode in the 2-day event
The 7th Annual Pedal & Play (P&P) in Paradise hosted nearly 600 riders April 1 and 2 in downtown Punta Gorda. This celebration of cycling provided something for everyone and raised thousands of dollars to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and TEAM's "bicycle friendly" initiatives.                                                                                                                       
Kudos to the P&P committee and the 100+ volunteers required to stage the event.  "GREAT JOB!" commented one rider, "The O's on the road were spectacular, so visible and the three ways you did it was great! The food was fantastic at the rest stops - and the volunteers - well what can you say about them? They are the unsung heroes of the day and should be congratulated and thanked a million times."

Another rider from Germany commented, "Participating at the P&P in Paradise event was a lot of fun and I am so glad I could be part of it.  Thanks a lot to you and your team for the perfect organization.  I can imagine it is a lot of work and you really need dedicated people to do it." 
Members of the local press were in attendance, and one columnist emailed to say, "Great event yesterday!  How many volunteers did it take to make the day happen? So impressed by the great teamwork!"

Wonderful Nancy Morris chaired the successful P&P Event


They have all the answers!

The festivities kicked off Friday evening with City Manager Howard Kunik's "Here and There" ride at 5 p.m.  According to City Manager Kunik, "We had about 150 riders and all went smoothly; our best ever. I received lots of compliments regarding our Public Safety assistance." The City Manager's ride was followed by a lighted ride to Ponce De Leon Park, a spectacular sunset, Yoga and a wine & cheese tasting hosted by The Turtle Club. P&P Event Director Del Templeton remembers, "The scene at Ponce Park was magical. The "War Birds" flew in unison overhead, bagpipes played and a sailboat drifted past the setting sun. Many riders thought we had staged it."

Bruce Tompkins created the Solana Mystery Tour
Saturday's tours included 15, 30 & 62 mile rides and an easy 10 mile "Mystery Tour" exploring the "Secrets of Solana", home of mystery ride sponsor Fat Point Brewing. One mystery rider remarked, "I was on the mystery ride, very happy to follow a group since I am new to the area. This way I could really look around and enjoy the views. The information pages were very cleverly written."  Saturday's participants enjoyed breakfast, lunch, free beer and live music by local artist Jim Morris. P&P in Paradise is a partnership between TEAM Punta Gorda and the Isles Yacht Club.

Bikers enjoy yoga at Ponce De Leon Park


Little Luna the Owl and her handler greet

the P&P participants

History Park's Community Garden finished

Everyone came out in "full force" to finish the last bit of work for the Community Gardens at the History Park.  The group of hearty volunteers finished all the work in just 2 hours!  The boxes are filled with soil, mulch is down and plots are being assigned.  Because this is an organic garden, all gardeners must attend an orientation on organic gardening prior to planting. 
Our first orientation will be on May 31 at 10 a.m. at the Charlotte Community Foundation Education Center and will be conducted by nationally recognized Worden Farm. Garden plots are still available, but going quickly.  Please contact or call 941-367-8326 for more info.  Cost is $25 per year which includes your plot as well as guidance by Master Gardeners and other professionals.
The success of this project is a reflection of your dedication and enthusiasm you displayed throughout the build. Thanks so much for your help in making our community a great place to garden.
Check out this collage that summaries all that was done on Saturday, April 9.  Amazing!
Thanks to Heleen Schouten and everyone who contributed their time and talent to get it done!

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Bikes as Art continues to beautify our town

Bikes as Art continues and this month we have added seven new bikes to our program around town!

Artists have painted their own special and unique "Works of Art". The contributing artists for this month are: CHS Art Club, Sarah Corey, Marilyn Maulin, Stella Markel and Betsy Spagnolo. They are located at the Office of Michael Hayman, Preseller's Parking Lot, United Methodist Church, Charlotte County Chamber, State Insurance, FGCU, and CHS courtyard garden.

If you are interested in helping to paint one the bikes, contact Betsy Spagnolo at 412- 303-8686 or call the Team Office at 941 637-TEAM.  FYI, we are in need of used bicycles to paint. A re-cycled bike of yours may become a "Work of Art" for the community. How about it?


Recap of April TEAM Mixer
A lucky raffle winner!
Perfect weather combined with delicious hors d'oeuvres, wines, beer, soft drinks ...
Free Raffle tickets with wonderful prizes... 
Dynamic TEAM Volunteers numbering 65...
All combined to make a wonderful mixer at Trabue!
Trabue Owner & Chef, Keith, with wife, Stacy
hanks to Keith Meyer and his lovely wife, Stacy Deffenbaugh!
Thanks to the TEAM Outreach Committee of Betsy Spagnolo, Lisa Dait, Donna Gogliucci, and Lisa Colgan for running another fabulous event for us!  Kudos to Diane Smolden for signing up many new contributing members.  Also, we acknowledge the Community Gardens Committee, especially Carol Moore and Martha Lindquist, who spoke about the new organic gardens at the History Park.  They even donated the Grand Prize for our raffle - a garden bucket with tools and a beautiful ornament.        

TEAM helps out at monthly Gallery Walk
TEAM volunteers help at the April Gallery Walk
It was a very successful evening at Gallery Walk.  TEAM set up tables for its Community Gardens and Bike Loaner Committees.
They had a yellow loaner bike there, along with an artist painted bike which is a part of the Bicycle Art Project.  
It was great to be a part of the environmental day joining up with the Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County!

Gilchrist Playground needs your help
Help make Gilchrist Park Playground AWESOME!
Renovation is scheduled this fall for the Gilchrist Park Playground.  The city's limited renovation budget won't cover all the needs to make it a spectacular kid zone. Wouldn't it be great to make it the best it could be? 
The Friends of Gilchrist Park Playground is attacking the problem head-on!  This group is made up of parents, grandparents, park users and volunteers working with city staff and TEAM Punta Gorda.  By August, they need to raise funding so that the designer can work the improved plan.  The committee has their own special plan to attract business and other large donors - a recognition mural honoring the playground's sponsors.  Sponsor names will be incorporated into the mural and visible to thousands of passersby on what is a heavily used biking and walking trail.                                           
You can help by visiting Gilchrist Donations.  Questions?  Call Mary Jacqueline Atkinson at 713-501-1447 or email

Nextdoor Initiative by Punta Gorda Police Dept
The Punta Gorda Police Department announced recently that they are using Nextdoor, to share information on crime prevention, safety and public events.   Nextdoor is a free private network for communities with over 800 resident that allows residents to easily organize neighborhood watch information in partnership with the police department. 
"With a constant focus on improving and enhancing community connectivity and communication, this is yet another venue in which we can continue our commitment to informing the public and developing strong relationships with the community we serve" stated Chief Tom Lewis.  "As communication technologies continue to advance, so will our department.  We are encouraging city residents to join Nextdoor as an additional means of getting important up-to-date information from the police department.  We look forward to connecting with you on Nextdoor to build stronger, safer neighborhoods throughout Punta Gorda."
Residents are encouraged to sign up at or contact Lieutenant Katie Heck at for more information.
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 Help Wanted - TEAM needs YOU !

Do you have time to help 
We can use your help. Here's just a sampling of some of the fun things you can do with just a little bit of your time:
   Need 10 -15 volunteers on May 7 to help  with the 2nd Annual "Reel in the Fun" Kid's 
   Fishing Tournament, Laishly Park , starts at 9:30 a.m.

   Looking for a Volunteer TEAM Coordinator
    Seeking a Co-Chair for Communications Committee
    Need Beautification Chairperson & volunteers.
    Help by becoming a Co-chair of the School Community Gardens   
    Become a member of the Outreach Committee and help spread the word
          about TEAM's many volunteer activities by organizing Mixers and working the
          TEAM table at special events.
    Join the Membership Committee in welcoming new and renewing   
          contributing members
   Represent TEAM on Gallery Walk Committee
Interested? Just give a call to Sue Carman, TEAM Volunteer Coordinator

 Save the DATE for TEAM
   Don't forget to put this date
   in your smartphone or paper calendar!
             January 26, 2017 
                              TEAM's Annual Community Meeting        

Whats Happening Logo

We invite you to visit the community calendars below for more information about upcoming events.

May 7 Kids Pier Fishing Tournament, "Reel in the Fun" Laishley Park, 9:30 a.m.  Sponsored by The Downtown Bait and Tackle Shop, free tournament for kids ages 3-12. 
May 10 "Influential Women" Presentation, 10 - 11 a.m., Florida Southwestern State College, D108, 26300 Airport Rd, Punta Gorda.  Celebrate Mother's Day with this FREE presentation on our area's most influential women and the achievements they accomplished which nurtured our community. Presented by Crystal Diff, Historical Coordinator at the Charlotte County Historical Center and Libby McDonald-Schaeffer, local author of The Ladies of Punta Gorda. 

May 13 - 15 Punta Gorda Hibiscus Festival  at Gilchrist Park on the harbor. Friday night Music Fest from 6 - 10 p.m. with sweet and savory foods. Fundraising for Vietnam Memorial Wall. Four bands on stage. Saturday 9 a.m. starts huge exotic plant sale, Hibiscus Cup Regatta on the Harbor, vintage cars, Plein Aire Artists in and around Gilchrist Park, craft vendors  Check  or 941-457-3659.  

May 14 Key Lime Festival, Key Lime Festival, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Fishermen's Village, Free Admission, live music, vendors, face painting and more. 
May 27 Bites of Punta Gorda Culinary Walking Tour in Historic Downtown. Five different local eateries. $45 pp  941-276-6384.

May 28 Downtown Bash, 4 - 9 p.m., located in the historic Courthouse area.  Hosted by Downtown Merchants Association, local bands - Gotta Luv It and American Made will be featured. Food vendors. Free Admission. Come and dance the night away
May 31 Charlotte Community Foundation, 10 a.m., Orientation for History Park Community Organic Garden conducted by Worden Farm.

Spotlight on our Platinum Sponsors

Time's Logo
Time Insurance Agency opened its doors in Punta Gorda in 2004, the tumultuous year of Hurricane Charley. Time President, James Kubek, first became acquainted with TEAM in 2005 and today is a major sponsor.  "We share TEAM's love for Punta Gorda," explains Kubek.  "This is a great community and we are proud to call Punta Gorda home. The work that TEAM does for the area brings people together.  It is uplifting and makes our community a more beautiful place."
Time Insurance Agency Office Building
Time is an independent insurance agency with access to many different insurance companies. The company offers a broad range of personal and commercial products, from diversified property coverages to life and health insurance, as well as payroll services.
According to Kubek, "Since our inception we have grown every year.  Our best advertisement has been word of mouth.  Yes, we do hear that clients see our commercials, wrapped vehicles around town, and hear our radio spots, but it's usually our loyal clients who refer friends and family to us."  The company tailors insurance solutions to fit each client's needs.  Read More. 

Message from TEAM CEO

Nancy J
If there was ever a demonstration of the need for bicycle infrastructure, it was this winter in Punta Gorda. Bicycles and pedestrians were seen everywhere on our roadways, sidewalks and trails. It's great to see our town thriving, as this year's visitors are often next year's residents, but we need to make sure that they can co-exist safely with the corresponding increase in cars.When it comes to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, there is no shortage of strong opinions in our community. Creating the best strategy for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists to co-exist safely is a big job. It's important to take the time to get it right.
On April 6 city staff presented a plan for a minimum grid in five neighborhoods. The total cost is $355,000 and is mostly restriping and signage, which is more cost effective than laying asphalt. Many thanks to city staff for the long hours and careful thought that went into this plan, and thanks to City Council for the quality of the discussion that followed.    
It was clear that Council demonstrated a keen interest in the development of our cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Each of the routes proposed would have an impact on the community.                                                                                                                             
At the April 20 Council meeting they decided to host a workshop in the near future that would allow staff, council and citizens to drill down into the benefits and impact of each proposal. There is insufficient time during City Council meetings for this kind of conversation. The workshop will provide the opportunity to take the time to get it right.                                                                                                                                       
After Charley, some said that it couldn't be done. The job of rebuilding post-hurricane Punta Gorda was just too big. By building a strong team of community leaders and local government, we did take the time to get it right, resulting in the beautiful town that exists today. The strong public-private partnership that resulted is one of our greatest assets. Citizen opinion was an important part of the process then, as it is now. We have everything we need in this town to do this well. Community problem solving has become an effective component of the Punta Gorda way of life.
In addition to improvements in infrastructure, there are other ways we can work together to improve public safety. There is a great deal of confusion on who belongs where on our roads and pathways. In the coming months TEAM Punta Gorda and the PGPD will work together to design a public information campaign that will be in place before the next season is upon us.
In addition to addressing the needs of our residents, there were large numbers of tourists present this winter who needed quick, easy access to information about the rules of the road and cycling safety. Perhaps we could provide a simple plastic card with essential information at yellow bike stations and other tourist locations. As we develop these resources, they will be added to our new Share the Lane website, (funded by a grant from the Charlotte Community Foundation) and other public venues.                                                                                                                                   
It's going to take everyone working together to get it right. Let's take our time and support this process. We'll all be better off for it.
Nancy Johnson

Parting Shots
A War Birds fly by at the start of P & P
A bag piper at Ponce De Leon Park for 1st day of P&P

Thanks to our "year-round" sponsors



TEAM Punta Gorda | 227 Sullivan Street | Punta Gorda | FL | 33950