It’s been a long, hot summer, with many challenges, but we made it through, and we will be seeing better weather shortly! I went on a vacation to Amish Country Ohio during that time, where it was peaceful and happy. It was fun looking out my window or across the street and seeing horses enjoying the weather, pulling the farm equipment, cows eating the grass or hay, watching them bale the hay. There is something about farm country that is quiet and peaceful and calming. My little cottage faces the two-lane street where you hear clip clop clip clop as the horse and buggy’s move down the street. Many of the farmers will also drive their tractors up to the corner—Amish are not allowed to drive cars—to pick up milk, bread, or hardware supplies. And every night I got to watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball on TV, either at my cottage or at neighbor’s house. How I wish I could find their games down here! Some evenings I would stop at a neighbors’ home, sitting with Vivian—now in a wheelchair—and her husband as we watched the game together. It’s so different from the way we live down here. It’s really interesting to see how other people live. I guess it would appear boring to others, but to me it’s peaceful. Of course, I don’t live there all year, and I would bet in the winter I’d die of cold and/or boredom, but in the summer it’s really nice.
*I wasn’t back home for a couple of hours and I was already back on Marco Island, and have been there once a day since arriving! On Thursday, Shirlee Barcic and I went to Old Marco Pub—sorry we missed you, Susan Ackerson, but the Lobster was outstanding—where they have begun their special of two Lobster Tails and all the trimmings for $28.95 on Wednesday and Thursday evenings! You can’t beat that now, can you? It’s was pretty quiet Thursday because they were just beginning the special again, so we got to enjoy the quiet, but it didn’t stay quiet for long!
*On September 10th, the County will be presenting a public meeting to discuss the East Naples Community Development Plan from 5 PM to 7 PM in the Commission Boardroom. The staff has been working on its preparation most of the summer, especially while people were working from home and communicating with each other via computer. It’s beginning to take shape now. One of the problems that I personally see—and that problem is not caused by the staff—started years ago when the powers that be during those early times, decided to break the East Naples Community up into different commission districts so each could claim some of the affordable housing they needed for approval for their developments. East Naples never had a commissioner in office back then. District One was always under a Marco Commissioner rule until 1992 when John Norris was elected as the first East Naples person to serve, and sadly he slipped up pretty badly, as did two others. The North Naples Commission district touched down into East Naples to include Spankies Speakeasy and the housing in that area. These were interesting times back then. Actually, there are interesting times now as well!
The problem is with East Naples being chopped up into three commission districts. People don’t know where they live, only the commission district, so when a restaurant wants to find a new location, East Naples looks like a spot on the map rather than stretching all along Davis Blvd, and U.S. 41 East, and along 951 to the Judge Jolley Bridge, and along Radio Rd. and Airport Road. It’s really a large area, but new developers to the area can only go by the maps and commission district. It’s a huge handicap when trying to interest people in bringing a new restaurant to the area. Any new and terrific restaurant that has opened is always amazed at how busy they are. They didn’t know that we had 64,000 people in each district when the last district lines in 2012 were drawn, and the new configuration will be coming up shortly.
We are hoping that this time we get all of East Naples located into one area as it should be. I’ll give you an example. I live in Lakewood off U.S. 41 East. divides district 1 and district 4! If you walk across the street, you are not in East Naples anymore, you are in District 4, so do you live in the City of Naples…? The same holds true for Davis Blvd, until you drive past the Santa Barbara traffic light, and then you are in District 3! Do you live in East Naples? If not… where DO you live? We really need to get this mess cleared up because the Redistricting will take place again shortly. Redistricting only takes place once every 10 years, right after the Census is counted. Hopefully, they can locate all of us in one district as they do with the huge Golden Gate Estates or North Naples areas. If we don’t live in East Naples, tell us where we live! Over the years, it’s been a handy way to hide the fact that so much affordable housing is over-concentrated in one area, but by using districts we become separated, even across the street!
*I hope many people will attend the Community Development Plan public presentation in the Commission Chamber on the 3rd floor of the Government Center this coming Thursday, September 10th, from 5 PM to 7 PM. They’d love to show you where we are and accept your thoughts as we move forward! Many communities already have a development plan, so now is our turn to do the same. WE NEED YOU! It’s important that we hear from people who live in the area, no matter which district you live in, but are a part of the East Naples community. Come on Countryside, Fiddler’s Creek, Isles of Capri, Treviso Bay, Isles of Collier Preserve, Lake Avalon area, Lakewood Blvd, Bayshore, King’s Lake, Moon Lake, etc. Come on out! Sit in and help us organize our future together!
*On a personal note, I was able to read the Coastal Breeze News online while up in Ohio Amish Country and it felt so good to be home yet far away. I was able to keep up with some of the outstanding writers in this publication. The stories are all interesting. We need to gather more people to read this publication so they can spread local news to this whole area! I’d love to find a way to do that.
See you next week! I missed everyone! It’s always good to be back home. And thank you to my friend Shirlee as we enjoyed Hideaway with a wonderful meal at their outdoor grill while they are getting all the remodeling finished. The staff over at Hideaway are always warm and friendly! Good to be back home.