By Lisa Grebin
Port Everglades Commissioner Michael J. Marinelli said he's not one to be put in the spotlight, but for this Port Everglades Commissioner of 15 years, described as "genteel" and "kind" it was his support and guidance that has transformed the Port into the second most successful port in the world.
So city, civic, county and state officials dedicated a park to him.
Marinelli said he was "extremely honored".
Port Director Joel Alesi has worked with the commissioner for 15 years and said the idea was formed by the former Port director who wanted a park built around a two-ton statue of Christopher Columbus, saluted by five, 25 foot high flagpoles.
The statue will be dedicated by former President Reagan's Quincentenary Jubilee Commission on Oct. 7.
But Marinelli Gardens is no small endeavor. It is 50,000 square feet, includes two fountains with reflecting pools, a "meandering" wooden walkway and picnic tables.
The park will also feature a bronze relief of Marinelli and a free standing artistic pedestal with plaques of the park's contributors.
"He's the most genteel, kindest individual I've met in my life," Alesi said. He added that Marinelli was nearly the sole inspiration that lead to the progress of the Port.
Port Commissioner Alan Marks said it was a "great day" for Marinelli.
"It's well-deserved," he said. Marks has served nine years on the commission, the second longest commission tenure.
They came even as far as the city of Miramar as Mayor Vicki Coceano and Commissioner Mike Tagg joined in the festivities.
"I think it's very lovely," said Coceano, born in Italy," After all he comes from the same place I do."