I wouldn't say its a shining example...yet. Its so easy to overlook the fact that the program and facilities are *NEW* right now. What happens in 10-15 years when the facilities are in need of renovation and the employees working there are getting union scale wages with platinum benefits.
The long term implication is that WE WILL PAY. Mooring fees will rise dramatically as soon as the pump out boat needs to be replaced and the showers are old/decrepit. This happens over and over in so called model communities. Then the first renovation cycle comes due and the place just falls apart as the city and residents are unwilling to keep the facilities modern. So they soak us with "use fees"
The worst part is that the state and city planners (*KNOW*) this. They're beholden to the waterfront property owners that dont want you cheapo sailors in their waterfront view. So in the end...say 10 years from now...a decrepit expensive empty mooring field is to their advantage. They can say "they offer facilities" to cruisers...but no one is going to use them.
Public loses access to waterfront and the big fish rich guy win again.
No one knows what will happen in the future. But I can tell you what they had in the past didn't work. I will say, though, that Florida, Colorado, and Washington KNOW where their money comes from - it comes from tourism.
For example, there is no doubt in your mind when you cross the state line between Florida and Alabama. The rest areas in FLorida are nice, patrolled, and kept up. The roads are generally nicer. The grounds in most of the cities are nicer. I am not picking on Alabama. Texas and LA could learn a few things too. But Florida knows where its money comes from and they do a great job of keeping these things nice and attractive.
I would like (LIKE) to believe that they will do the same with the waterways. I would like to believe they will do the same with the mooring fields. I will tell you this, there are some extraordinary waterfront parks on the west coast of Florida. On Emerson Point, there is a floating dinghy dock on the park with access to miles of trails. You can beach on Desoto Point and and walk through a great history lesson of what a murderer Desoto was. What about Pelican Bay where you can anchor (for free) and use the dinghy dock for a small charge, and walk the trails and over tot he gulf for a swim?
What I think (in my opinion) is that the people who most complain about the mooring fields would be the people who will complain even louder when there isn't a pumpout boat that comes to pump them out for free, or they cannot get rid of their trash, or they cannot get water, showers, toilets, etc. Suddenly that $15 mooring ball isn't so expensive and looks like a great deal. Because you want to know what marinas are running down here???
Marathon - Key West
$2.50-$4.50/ft measured overall length from anchor to davits per night.
$21.50/ft measured same for a month in Marathon.
$34.50/ft in Key West Bight (the cheapest... Galleon is even more) PLUS electricity at $50+ dollars a week. A 40 foot boat, measure overall, can easily be looking at $1700/month!!!
Fort Myers Beach
Snook Bight is $14.50/ft, plus electricity, plus $35 for pool/showers, plus 50 for first liveaboard and $25 for everyone after that...
We stayed at Salty Sams and they charged us $25 for a pumpout. Twenty-five for one pumpout and we were paying for slippage! And it is the same price as SNook Bight.
The Harborage in St Pete will easily run you 7-800 for a 40' boat... easily.
And yet, we are complaining about $15 for a mooring ball????? Really? $300 for the month and EVERYTHING is included! You cannot even get a hotel down here for a couple of days for that. You sure aren't going to get a marina for that. Yet, you pull these mooring balls, and in addition to the vagrants moving back in like roaches at a Taco Bell, all those services will likely disappear. THat was the way it used to be, remember?? Turds floating down the canals? Bathing naked in their cockpits. People walking through people's lawns and stealing their water. Trash thrown overboard or in people lawn.
Not to mention, what incentives do the marinas have to keep their already ridiculous prices from going higher? Where else are you going to get water? Get pumped out? Get rid of your trash? Park your dinghy? It doesn't (legally) work. Now for those who dump illegally and really couldn't care about any of these laws, well, I guess damn the torpedoes and sink those mooring balls. Me, I like knowing that I am a day's sail from all of these amenities, which are cheap, safe, and legal. I will do my time and I bug out and go anchor somewhere else that is prettier and free.
Get rid of this stuff? No thank you. Like I said, I remember what it used to be like.