Well, here we are in a whole new decade! That last one sure went by quickly! Right now, there are lots of things going on, so you might want to cut this column out just in case. First and foremost, most all of us live in District One, and as you know, the seat for County Commissioner District One will be available, and so far, six candidates have filed to run in that election. Actually, candidates until the middle of June to file with the Elections Office if they would like to run for the seat, but these six people are getting an early start and getting their campaigns together. Right now, people are anxious to see these people and hear what they plan to do for this district and learn more about the candidates themselves. The East Naples Civic Association took a bold step forward and planned the first Candidate Forum for this election. They reserved the South Regional Library which holds 250 people as the venue. Please mark your calendars for Monday, January 27th at 6 PM. They contacted Brent Batten—he is an editor at the Naples Daily and writes the editorial comments regularly—who agreed to be their Moderator for the evening. They have asked Brent to ask his own questions, as he is very politically astute, and then Brent will ask the audience for Q & A—if there is time. The ENCA will pass out 3 X 5 cards to write your questions and pass them in. Mr. Batten will sort through to eliminate duplicates, check the remaining time, and ask the questions himself. Sometimes when the audience answers, they seem to campaign and not get to the question, so for the sake of timing, Mr. Batten will pick the questions and possibly handle the timer as well. I’m just guessing he’ll handle the timer, but it will be handled, no matter what. It ought to be an interesting evening, and hopefully, we learn a lot about these candidates and what they will bring to the office. Meanwhile, I will remain quiet in my seat somewhere in the audience. Areas like Marco Island, Isles of Capri, Goodland, East Naples, Copeland, Fiddler’s Creek, Lely Resort, Treviso Bay, Naples Lakes, Forest Glen, and my goodness, I could go on and on, NEED to be there to hear the candidates and begin to hear what the issues are and what they plan to do with them. Please understand none have held the office before, so they are playing on a level field. I’m guessing there will be other forums and other times, but this will be the one most important to me because I’m hoping there is a candidate in there that reaches us as the best possible candidate. I’ll see you there!
*I will be holding my annual Marco Island Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, February 4th at 6 PM at the Rose Hall Auditorium at the Marco Museum, 180 Heathwood Drive. The Folks at the Historical Society and the Museum people have been so generous to us over the years to allow us to hold this meeting for the Island at their facility, and I’d like to thank them personally. The County Manager and the City Manager will be there to talk about issues affecting their domain, but they only have limited time to speak, then County Staff members will be there to discuss the Beaches, the Airport, and more. On the Island, the County owns the Museum, the Library, the Airport, and the Beach Parks, but we do not enter into City business; that is for your City Council. I have always stayed within my boundaries, and do not violate that rule. Please join us for this very informative meeting.
*On a personal level, I’m so proud of Val Simon and her team of VERY talented people who write this newspaper, and now they write weekly! More work, and more up to date coverage! I know it isn’t easy for Val, but that smile and friendliness never leaves her face. She’s a true professional, and a joy to work for.
*BIG news about the FDOT roads: The Resurfacing project between Fiddler’s Creek and the Judge Jolley Bridge received notice to proceed on May 28th, 2019. Some of the improvements under this FDOT contract consist of milling and resurfacing, base work, shoulder treatments, drainage improvements, curb & gutter, sidewalk, guardrail, signing and pavement marking, signalization and lighting on State Road (SR) 951 from north of the Judge Jolley Bridge, northerly for approximately three miles to south of Fiddler’s Creek Parkway. Any anticipated lane closures for resurfacing will be scheduled for nighttime. Currently, the contractor is conducting directional drills at the intersections of Mainsail and Capri for signalization improvements. (I’ve been wondering what they were doing over there!) They are also widening the “keyways” for the bike paths and other safety improvements. The actual resurfacing for SR 951 is scheduled for an early summer timeframe, pending weather conditions. The project is expected to be completed by mid-fall 2020. Thank you for this update, Victoria of FDOT, one of the sweetest people you’d ever want to meet!
*Also, discussing SR 951 and now adding U. S. 41 E from 951 to Greenway Road into that topic, the FDOT will be adding the streetlights that were never installed when they widened the street, and they should be finished by Fall of 2020. I worked with our landscaping people at the county to request a grant from FDOT to landscape this roadway, since U.S. 41 E was widened, and since 951 was nearing completion of the landscaping project, where only one step near the end was left to finish. The county people were only too happy to assist getting that grant! We got word a couple months ago that FDOT had approved the project and would fund it with almost $2 million to landscape this corridor, with the proviso that Collier County would maintain the landscaping from that point on, as we do for the rest of the landscaping on State Roads in Collier County. At the January 15th meeting, FOUR commissioners voted against it! All four said that we couldn’t afford it! I won’t go on with telling you how I feel about it!