Thursday, October 22, 2020

Eyes on the Goal!


You might have noticed a number of buildings being constructed at the corner of U.S. 41E and South West (SW) Blvd. They are all solid block construction and as they go up, they look like they have nice roof lines and plenty of space. So I asked, and here is the information. The name of the development will be The Crest at Naples, and will be a mixed-use community, similar to The Aster at Lely Resort. It will be a 200-unit luxury rental community with a small portion of the units reserved for workforce/gap housing and young professionals. The buildings will only be two stories in height and will possess plenty of high amenities like gated entrances, garages for residents, a resort-style swimming pool, a fitness center, bocce ball courts, kids play area, a dog park, and a ¼-acre lake. There will be a large preserve and buffer for the site closest to the property line along Benson Street and the Hitching Post Mobile Home Park. The project will have an additional entrance/exit which will help reduce some traffic along S.W. Blvd. The buildings will all be CMU Block construction with concrete tile roofs and hurricane impact glass windows, making it one of the nicest and highest quality residential products within that area. 

*The elections are coming closer, and many people still have questions about some of the candidates they’ve never heard of, or other subjects that also seem to be rising in interest. One of the important issues is to continue buying up conservation land, which we have done for many years. Yes, we stopped buying for a while, but if everyone wants to see some control over development, and the protection of our environment and wildlife and green space, this is one of those projects. Yes, we would vote to tax ourselves ¼ mill ad valorem tax, lasting 10 years, which we did previously. The tax would equate to $25 a year for each $100,000 of taxable property value. I would hope they buy some of that land in urban areas to take it off the development role, and put them into preserve areas. Some of the areas they have purchased are Pepper Ranch—where they hold hunting and fishing tournaments for the young and old—Freedom Park, Gordon River Greenway, Caracara Prairie and many others. Wetlands are extremely important in protecting our water resources because wetlands hold on to the floodwater and the vegetation filters out those pollutants before entering into our waterways. Conservation people hope that the program will continue to protect habitat and frankly to keep a little bit of the wonderful quality of life that we have all grown to know and love—they’ve bought some lands protecting our water and wildlife—to take these properties off the tax rolls and preserve them for our future. Now it is up to you!

*The High School Swim Meets have begun, and the Athletic Conference Meet began on October 10th at the Pool at Eagle Lakes Park on U. S. 41E with all 6 public high schools participating. Up next will be the District Swim Meet with 12 teams from the surrounding district participating. That date is October 22nd at 10 AM. Who knows…? Maybe sometime in the future, we might have a professional swimmer arise from one of our local teams! These things all begin with enthusiasm and vigor and work their way into professional competition. Superintendent of Schools, Kam Patton, was there to cheer for these teams! And you ought to see the adult volunteers working their heads off and lovin’ every minute of them, as their actions exemplify their support for these youth. Many of those youth are not even their kids, but they volunteer because they love the kids and want to help and encourage them. 

*Many of you know of the Riviera Golf Course and the surrounding community of 55 and older adults. Riviera Country Club never owned that golf course, but for many years, most of us didn’t realize that until just in the last couple of years when the owners decided to sell that golf course land to build houses or apartments, or whatever they could get the most money for. Now that development is coming up for a rezone to allow up to 237 single-family detached dwelling units, for a Golf Course Conversion. This is a community of 55 and over mobile homes, condos, and single-family homes. The golf course is in the middle of the community. When that happens, there will be a lot of construction equipment and vehicles, and I’m sure a lot of noise and more. I don’t know how that will come out, but I wish them luck. I had recommended a couple years ago to buy that land themselves, but they voted not to. I hope it all turns out well and becomes a great part of their community. 

*Even though Bayshore and Thomasson Rds. are in East Naples, they have been divided by the redistricting about 10 years ago. So, they are in District 4—while many of us are in District 1, and even though I pull out of my street to U. S. 41E, or on the other side I join Davis Blvd. People consider themselves not in East Naples but in District 4, and I can guarantee they are not in the City of Naples. We have another odd thing, Davis Blvd is actually divided into THREE districts, District 1, District 4 (City of Naples) and District 3, Golden Gate City. When you drive down Davis Blvd. and pass Santa Barbara heading toward 951—yes, you are still in East Naples—but you are now in District 3. In another year, the legislature will again redistrict our area, dividing our total residents that were recorded on the Census to 5 districts, each having the same number of residents—not voters—for each community. I’m hoping this year they will try to keep us in East Naples in one solid district, rather than dividing us up in pieces. 

You see, the cities of Naples and Marco Island do not grow, but all districts must have an even number of residents. The last time they did that, instead of keeping the City of Naples in the same district as the other waterfront communities along the coast, they took the extra people they needed from East Naples. That had never happened before, and when I lost that part of my district, I cried inside. It was like losing one of my children. Maybe this time things will change. It all depends on our Legislators. If you have a chance, talk to them. It would be great to all be joined together again in East Naples. We are growing and we need our people to be together, and work together for the betterment of our community. We play well with Marco Island, so we wouldn’t want to lose them either. They have so many wonderful things in their shops and restaurants that we do not have yet, but things will be coming to E.N. eventually. Speaking of Thomasson and Bayshore, have you seen all the construction along the southern portion of Thomasson/Bayshore? The CRA is rebuilding that street and forming a huge round-about big enough for a boat and trailer to navigate safely. There will be landscaping and sidewalks and crosswalks, etc. It should look lovely when they finish! That area is growing so nicely with exciting things taking place. I went to 360 Market the other day, and they really have things in order to handle the people with safe distancing and outdoor dining, etc., and the food! Ah… the food! It felt good to have them open again.

 *Those car carriers are coming in daily, and I can already feel the traffic mounting up. I had heard that the northerners wouldn’t be coming down this year but I think they forgot to tell the northerners. And I believe some of them will be buying here and staying here! They have lots of problems in many of those cities, and people want to get away from that, and we are pretty healthy down here compared to other areas. Let’s hope we can handle this sensibly and with common sense and good growth as our goal. Don’t ever take your eye off that goal. 

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