Gulfshore Business: How businesses, stakeholders grapple with the threat of rising sea levels

The Marco Island Center for the Arts sits precariously close to water on all sides. To the north and east are canals, and to the south is Caxambas Pass. The Gulf of Mexico looms to the west, flat and vast. If an especially high storm surge were to sweep across the island, saltwater would flood the center’s galleries and corridors. Like all of Southwest Florida, it trembles before the power of the tides.

In 2022, the Marco Island Center for the Arts will seal a time capsule that’s intended to remain unopened for the next 50 years. The capsule will contain present-day newspapers, menus from local restaurants, photographs, handmade pieces of art, even a replica of the Marco Cat. The center also has asked schoolchildren to contribute drawings for the capsule following the theme “What will the world look like in 50 years?” A surprising number of the pictures show people living beneath the sea.

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Although the center’s executive director, Hyla Crane, is enthusiastic about the time capsule, she’s worried that the Center for the Arts won’t be around to unseal it. In fact, she’s not sure any part of Marco Island will still be here in 50 years. “When we think about the time capsule, we think about projecting the voices of the community into the future,” Crane says. “But none of it’s going to matter if all of this is underwater.”

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Author: Artis Henderson, Gulfshore Business
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