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TEAM Punta Gorda Newsletter
TopJoanne and Richard Collins, Editors
                                            July 2016
In This Issue
TEAM Punta Gorda's Last Month's Newsletter

Nine more bikes decorate our town
Nine new "work of art" bikes were placed around town recently.  Did you know that over the past month 30 bikes have been painted by our contributing artists?  
Those who worked on them this month are: Betsy Spagnolo, Terry Hoagland, Claudia Chopp, Bobbi Crane and Debbie Engel. They are located at Laishley Park, Two Thrify Ladies, Sunart Gallery, Charlotte Sun, Green Thumb Park, Veterinary Hospital, Kunick Residence and the Visual Art Center.

If you are interested in helping to paint one the bikes, contact Betsy Spagnolo at 412 303-8686.   We are in need of used bicycles to paint. Re-cycle your old bikes! They will become a "Work of Art".

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Let's make our harborfront spotless!

TEAM Punta Gorda is looking for local businesses and organizations to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup.
Help clean up our harborfront
What: International Coastal Cleanup along the Punta Gorda Harborwalk
When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Who: Civic organizations, businesses, boating and fishing clubs, paddle clubs or groups, cycling groups, scouting organizations, school clubs or groups, anyone interested in reducing trash in our waters and maintaining our city's resources.
Contact: Ann Taylor, 404-314-3601

Dragon Boats Festival
Races coming Oct 29!
Looking for something new and different?  Why not join TEAM Punta Gorda's Dragon Boat group?  The Dragon Boat Races benefit "Take Stock in Children", the Charlotte Local Education mentoring and scholarship program.                                                  
We need 24 members to complete our TEAM.  Paddlers are divided evenly between females and males.  There will be instruction and practices before the event scheduled for October 29.  Cost is a mere $34 per person.                                                                                        
Contact us at 941-637-8326 or email 
For more info, check out       

Did you know?
 Loaner Bikes
       That TEAM's  free yellow bike 
         program is wildly popular?
  • March 2016 was a record month - 879 bicycles were taken out for a ride!


  • Would you believe that 5,397 yellow bikes have been taken out for a ride in the past 12 months?  

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

 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:

  • Bicycle Loaner Program Volunteer
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Co-Chair for the Communications, School Gardens and Maritime      Committee
  • Beautification Chairperson   
  • Government Relations Chairperson
  • Editor of TEAM Talk - will train to use Constant Contact, a  neat marketing computer program     
Interested? Just contact TEAM Volunteer Coordinator  941-637-8326

 Save the DATES for TEAM
        Don't forget to put these dates
   in your smartphone or paper calendar!
             October 25, 2016
                 TEAM Mixer
                                        November 19, 2016
                                        Paddle Punta Gorda
                                        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.


July 4 , Freedom Swim,  Fishermen's Village,

July 4, Fireworks, over the harbor, at dusk

Spotlight on our Platinum Sponsors
   State Insurance Agency Adopts PG and TEAM
Ribbon cutting ceremony for State
rian Chapman, Jr. credits his own employees' efforts to the success of his company, State Insurance Agency.  This second generation agency, a TEAM Punta Gorda Platinum Sponsor, raves about both his employees and family.  Brian says of his team of dedicated employees, "They are amazing. The first four people we brought on are still employed with us and 20 team members later, we have a very dynamic and vibrant work place."  But that's not the whole story, says Brian, who credits his high school sweetheart for much of his success.  "Without my very supportive wife, none of this would be possible; it takes two and I am blessed to have her as my teammate in life."


Brian's parents Brian and Sloan, who Brian says "provided guidance, development and sometimes grace and mercy," contributed the fundamentals to success.  Chapman also credits "from day one" the community, the Punta Gorda Chamber, Charlotte Chamber, the Realtor association and other community service organizations.


After many years in Port Charlotte, Chapman opened an office in Punta Gorda early this year, with an impressive renovation of an historic (once gas station) building at the corner of Rt 41 S and Marion Avenue.  In recognition of the effort and results, State Insurance was awarded an annual TEAM Punta Gorda Beautification Award.  Chapman says of his decision to expand to Punta Gorda, "Relationships are the cornerstone of every great small business and I don't think you can find a tighter knit community than PG.  My wife and I love Punta Gorda:  the people, the restaurants, the history, the culture.  We also felt the market was being underserved and with the development and growth we felt as though the time was right for a second location there."


What was it about TEAM that encouraged State Insurance to become financial partners?  "TEAM's philosophy seems to be one of a "servant" attitude.  It aligns with our organizational core values in giving back, volunteering, and putting others first, explains Chapman.  "Supporting TEAM was the first thing we did when we moved into Punta Gorda with our office.  Our hope is that we will have many years of partnership with the TEAM and be a part of the positive improvements and initiatives that come up along the way."


You will find Brian and his own team members ready to service your insurance needs at 301 West Marion Avenue in Punta Gorda (941-347-4707).  They have a comprehensive line of residential, commercial and personal insurance products from multilple insurers.  Visit the company website at .

Message from TEAM CEO

Nancy J It's Only Paint
Bicycle Capital Projects Workshop Held
On June 9th City Council held a three-hour workshop for an in-depth review of the bicycle infrastructure proposal that was submitted by City staff in March. TEAM Punta Gorda has been working with staff throughout the process. The workshop was open to the public and designed to encourage dialogue about the proposal and to allow Council members more time to drill down into the details of each route.

Turn-out at the three-hour session was good, with 90 citizens participating despite the pouring rain. Upon arrival, participants were divided into three groups. After hearing general instructions from the City Manager, they were to rotate through three different discussion venues, one for each proposed route. Each table contained a large map of a different section of the city with markers for input, and a City staff person to facilitate the discussion. Sessions were recorded and a transcript will result.

On Civility
I need to say that emotions run high on this topic. The workshop generated some high-spirited discussion, with strong emotions expressed by many. There was also some very good input with new solutions and innovative ideas. It was apparent during that session that there continues to be some inaccurate information circulating regarding the bicycle infrastructure proposal. The proposal is published on the City web-site and can be viewed by any interested party.

On Change
Some people just don't want any change at all. They think that if we do nothing, the bicyclists will just go away. Punta Gorda is known as a place where one can have a healthy lifestyle, certainly a desirable outcome. We all want to maintain the special character of our town that is Punta Gorda, but we still must learn to live together harmoniously and safely, regardless of our mode of transportation.

On Safety
Clearly, we are all interested in the same thing: that motorists and bicyclists are able to share the same roadways in a safe manner. This means that there must be separation between bicycles and cars on the roads, that both bicyclists and motorist will be courteous to one another, and that everyone will obey the law. I attended PGPD Chief Tom Lewis' traffic safety talk last week and found if full of useful information. I encourage everyone to go. I learned several things relevant to bicycle safety. All should understand and follow the laws. To this end, PGPD and TEAM Punta Gorda have developed a public education plan to include more information sessions, a video, widely distributed tip sheets, a safe routes map and special events. This effort will help everyone know what is expected.

On Infrastructure
There are many ways to approach these issues, but it's clear to me that we must do something. For example, Cape Coral and Venice have implemented many of these ideas. For those of you who travel in the summer to other communities, notice what other towns have done to address bicycle safety. From the smallest to the largest towns, people are concerned enough to seek solutions, and so must we. We know that city leaders are seeking the best solution for all of us. It is important to note that for the most part, it is only paint. Most of the current proposal can be accomplished by re-striping, and does not require a great deal of asphalt to be laid. This not only keeps the cost down, but it means that proposed changes are easily reversed if they don't work out. We'd like to see a pilot proposal come out of the workshop so that we could try it out.

Next Steps
City Council recesses until the first of August. They will next address this topic sometime in September. Meanwhile, City staff and TEAM Punta Gorda will be preparing a revised proposal that reflects the public input received in the workshop and through e-mail and other channels. As we move forward on this issue, please continue to express your opinion and especially new ideas for solutions. If we continue to talk to each other, we can come up with a plan that works for everyone.

Nancy Johnson

Parting Shot
One of TEAM's yellow bikes is temporarily out of service due to a bird's nest in its basket!
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TEAM Punta Gorda | 227 Sullivan Street | Punta Gorda | FL | 33950