Summer! What a wonderful time of the year! It’s easy to get anywhere and easier to find specials and seats in restaurants, etc. The traffic is calmer even though the weather is quite humid. It seems though, that more people have stayed here this year than in the past.
• You have probably noticed all the construction activity going on at Eagle Lakes Community Park on U.S. 41 E. across from the Hitching Post Mobile Home Community. It is the long awaited “Aquatic Center” (swimming pool and accompanying activities) being constructed. As most of you know, we have the Fun & Sun Lagoon in North Naples with a huge surrounding park, and it gets lots of use. The swimming pool in the City of Naples has been there for years, Marco Y has a marvelous swimming pool, Golden Gate has their pool at the Golden Gate Community Center, Immokalee has had a marvelous swimming pool for many years, and now there will finally be one in East Naples. There will be four parts to this facility. One will be a little kiddie pool for very small children who might still be wearing diapers (the reason is in case there is a big accident in that diaper, the pool must be drained. It’s much easier to drain a very shallow pool than a huge pool), then a family pool, and a play area for kids to slide and run under water sprays, and finally, a pool for exercise classes, marvelous swimming, and a long awaited, much needed lap pool for swim teams and competitive swimming. Yes, it took a lot longer to get the job done right, but now we will have a pool area that will serve all. (I should tell you what they originally planned…but I won’t!) Hopefully this pool will be all we were hoping for! Meanwhile, behind the scenes, there are a number of us who are trying to upgrade the rest of the facilities in the park so the kids will have a place to play, work with crafts, take art and music classes, and actually have a safe and wholesome place to play. What we’d also like to see happen is an indoor basketball court. This park lacks so much compared to the other parks, and we’d like to see it serve the kids that need so much in this area. One guy who is working diligently on this project, the main guy working so hard, is Phil Brougham from Fiddler’s Creek. Maybe some others from Fiddler’s will get into his bandwagon and give him the assistance he needs to make this a reality. Others in other areas ask and they receive magnificent parks. We have to fight for whatever we receive. So, everyone who wants to help these kids, and build a better park, and expand the limited facilities that were built: Please offer your help. You are truly needed! So often people say, “I’d love to help.” Well here is a great opportunity. The more people, the better the results. Maybe we can even expand the fitness center so it can hold a few more people.
• While in the sports frame of mind: Pickleball is already on people’s minds. Did you know the East Naples Community Park is internationally known as the Pickleball Capital of the World! And that’s no kidding. That’s how they portray it on the Pickleball Channel, and in advertising blurbs, in the news, on CBS Sports, etc. People are already calling to be the first to sign up for next years’ games. Last year there were 1,300 players from 42 states and 14 countries. They expect 1,500 players next year! Do you know one of the reasons the people love that particular park? Because they are all in close proximity to all of the games. They do not like to travel to other parks because all the excitement is in the major park. People set up tents, feed off of each other’s awards and the excitement fills the air. The Collier County Parks & Rec is hoping to build another 20 courts by next year. That’s a big challenge, but with the popularity of the game growing so quickly, I believe that goal can be reached. (Now if only the public school system would sell us some of those 37 acres right next door to the park that they received as a gift 30 years ago and simply cannot use! If you know anyone of influence, please ask them to talk to the decision makers at CCPS. We need more parking, more courts, more places for children’s activities. Maybe we can find the right, influential people to help make this dream a reality.)
• One of the most perplexing dilemmas we have been dealing with these past few months is the huge amount of traffic on St. Andrews Boulevard, and the speed they use, the reckless driving, the anger, etc. There have been many accidents and even a death. The County is pulling their hair trying to find the solutions that will help slow the traffic down, calm the drivers, and make St. Andrews a safer street for those who live there! Construction traffic needs to stay off that road! The Sheriff’s Office has been working closely with the County, and you will continue to see more changes and improvements as we get approvals, etc. The team from Lely has been working very closely with the County and the Sheriff. We all want to solve this awful dilemma and bring it back to a safe neighborhood again. We have a few residents who yell and say insulting things, but for the most part our team has been working diligently together to accomplish a safer community, and we have more good things planned.
• Maybe one of these days I’ll write another little column about the Amish. Many have requested more info. Hopefully you are taking this summer to slow down, rest and relax, enjoy the peace and quiet, and stop and smell the roses. I know I am. Some at work have even said, “Wow, you look so rested!” That makes me wonder how I looked before taking it easy.