Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association
The seeds. The roots. The branches. The blossoms.
It all started with Shuffleboard.
Way back in the late 1950’s, three industrious men who had worked together in the CIA decided to go into business, starting with some shoe stores in Florida, then into real estate development. Flying over a 550 acre mangrove swamp, Al Johns, Sam Burchers and Bud Cole envisioned future canals and home sites; they made the landowner a deal he couldn’t refuse. In 1958, the first model homes were built and the rest, so they say, is history. Today, what would become Punta Gorda Isles encompasses 9000 acres and 125 canals. It was built with boating in mind and originally was viewable to potential property owners by boat only. With accessibility enhanced by the new Marion Avenue Bridge, the Isles development began to take off.
By 1962, one of the Isles’ first landowners, Pete Botsema, decided to liven things up a bit by starting a Shuffleboard league and soon more than 60 people had joined. Buoyed by that success, he thought it would be a great idea to create an association dedicated to ‘fun and happiness in the Isles’. Membership was $3.00 per family. The seeds of PGICA were sown.
By 1970, membership had grown to 473 and many more activities had been added. Less than a decade later, the organization PGICA spread roots, bought out the Isles’ original founders, grew to 2200 members and Shuffleboard was replaced with tennis courts built to accommodate the fresh popularity of the sport. Construction of a new home for the organization began at a new location on Shreve Street, but in 2004, Hurricane Charley completely destroyed the old building and damaged the new one as well. It was the hard work and commitment of dedicated contractors, organization leadership, members and volunteers that enabled the completion of our beautiful new home and allowed the PGICA to branch out.
In 2015, we celebrated 10 years in our beautiful home, which currently includes offices, classrooms, an auditorium, serving kitchen, outside pavilion and tennis courts. We support 35 clubs and groups, publish a monthly magazine The Commentator and offer numerous entertainment events and educational opportunities. Thanks to those who have extended themselves over the years and those who continue to do so today, PGICA continues to blossom and is filled every week of the year with activity, fun, learning and fellowship beyond anything imagined by Mr. Botsema and his shuffleboard group!
Did you know?
PGICA receives no government funding.
All expenses are paid with revenues from membership dues, donations, rentals and advertising, class and event fees.
Classes, events, concerts, cabarets, seminars and workshops are open to the General Public.