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Message from the Mayor

MayorOn behalf of my colleagues on City Council and our City staff, I welcome you to Punta Gorda, the little gem on beautiful Charlotte Harbor, known as the “City of Hibiscus” and home to about 18,000 residents, many of whom live on the water. Florida’s best small city provides the allure of a world–class resort with the pleasures of a hometown welcome. National travel and lifestyle editors tout Punta Gorda’s premier sports and recreation, blue-ribbon arts and culture, and its variety of casual and fine dining. Boating and fishing are world class, with over 70 miles of navigable canals that flow seaward to white-sand barrier islands and the Gulf of Mexico, inviting sail boaters, cruisers, sport fishermen, kayakers & paddle boarders.

Whether you travel by water, road, or air, Punta Gorda is conveniently located with only a mile from Interstate 75, its own Punta Gorda’s Airport (PGD), and an easy drive to Fort Myers and its SW Florida International Airport. PGD hosts charter and private air travelers, as well as Allegiant Airlines which flies to over 20 cities across the country.

Among the City’s accolades, Punta Gorda has been recognized to be among the Top 10 Places to Sail, the 15th Best Yachting Town, the Bicycle Community of the Year, the Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf, the Best Fishing Spot in the World and….the Number One Location for Tarpon Fishing in the World. Punta Gorda also takes great pride in its ecological riches, with maritime and coastal habitats supporting over 600 species of birds, fish, and marine wildlife.

Incorporated in 1887, Punta Gorda celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2013. It is the county seat and “heart” of Charlotte County. Tracing its roots to the landing of Ponce de Leon and Hernando DeSoto in the early 1500s, its name, comes from the Spanish for “broad point,” referencing the City’s position jutting into Charlotte Harbor. Preserving Punta Gorda’s rich history is a top priority for our City Council and residents alike, with many downtown structures documented on the National Register of Historic Places. Too, volunteers help keep Punta Gorda’s past alive through historic murals which grace many facades, renovated historic structures in History Park and the historic Train Depot, and through the volumes of historic documents in the new History Center.

Ranked among the safest cities in Florida, Punta Gorda also boasts 20 parks in its limited 15 square miles. Along with our dedicated employees who ensure our residents and guests receive the best customer service, individuals, organizations, and businesses partner with the City, helping to keep our community pristine. They help maintain our City’s Nature Park, Welcome Beach, and community gardens, and even support a community home “paint out,” as well as a free bicycle loaner program for those who live or visit here. In addition, shady sidewalks, 18 miles of beautifully landscaped and pet-friendly trails, playgrounds for children and adults, marked bicycle routes, tennis and pickle ball courts, and two wonderful local farmers’ markets invite a healthy lifestyle. In all, Punta Gorda provides an immeasurable quality of life.

Our motto, “It’s Happening on the Harbor,” reflects our reputation as a “festival” city and exemplifies the year-round availability of cultural and entertainment attractions. With a full-service conference center, the acclaimed Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Visual Arts Center, innovative artists’ galleries, jazz festivals, wine and cuisine affairs, and open-air shows, including spontaneous jams at the City’s harbor-front park, Punta Gorda is alive throughout the year.

We have made significant strides over the past year and I look forward to working together with my colleagues--on Council and on staff—and with our community’s residents, businesses, and organizations—to achieve even more for the betterment of our fine City. With our collective commitment, we will continue the “momentum” of our predecessors, ensuring our city flourishes and fulfills its mission as “a vibrant waterfront community, unique in character and history, and one of the most desirable places to live, work, and visit.”

If it’s your first time visiting or if you are returning or staying, those who discover Punta Gorda find it for life. I and my colleagues invite you to come and see what’s “Happening on the Harbor”!

Carolyn Freeland

City Hall
326 West Marion Ave.
Punta Gorda, FL. 33950
Tel. (941) 575-3369
Fax. (941) 575-3365