Beauty, being in the eye of the beholder, is often the crux of a problem and also a challenge. The Goodland Boat Park is one such animal. As recent as a dozen years ago, the swath of land south and at the end of Goodland Drive West was just low, swampy marshland. During these past years, that swamp has transitioned into million-dollar property and has caused Goodlanders, a few developers, and the County much stress and discord.
Condominiums, family homes, and a community park were just a few of the ideas that Goodlanders and ‘outsiders’ visualized as appropriate for that piece of swampland as it began to morph into untold treasure.
The County-owned Goodland Boat Park, being constructed as we speak, is the result of much debate and money. Change is always difficult to accept and using that land for a boat facility isn’t exactly what was initially visualized by the community. As with most issues, not everyone is happy. John Torre, Collier County’s Public Information Officer said, through phone and e-mail contact, that the 5.22-acre site will include:
- 75 boat trailer parking spaces; 16 regular vehicle spaces
- two-lane boat loading ramp
- boat dock with viewing deck and fishing deck
- handicap access boat ramp
- finger pier with 12 wet boat slips
- 11 wet slip docks
- Dock Master Building with bait tanks
- small store, restroom facilities, meeting room
- covered picnic pavilion, bike racks, paver sidewalks
- landscaping improvements and storm water management
Construction started in March of 2009 and is a little over 60 percent complete. The boat park is expected to be finished in the spring of 2010. The budget is $1,791,780.36. The contractor is BCBE Construction Co., Inc. and the design consultant is Johnson Engineering.
Goodland is a golf cart community. Top speed limit is 25 miles per hour and the relaxing winding road entering Goodland is just two lanes. In Goodland, there are only a few streets and no sidewalks. Bicyclists, exercise enthusiasts, and children biking are common sights. Thus, residents of Goodland still have many concerns regarding traffic and the actual logistics of day-to-day boat park use. Trucks trailering boats through Goodland only to find the parking lot full is a concern for many residents.
John Torre said, “There will be a sign on CR92 indicating the park is full.”
School children wait for the bus on Goodland Drive West in the morning when it still is dark. They are dropped off in the mid-afternoon when boaters, after a day in the sun and sea, usually head home.
“How will they (Collier County) prevent people from jamming the road in the morning, waiting for the park to open?” asked one Goodlander.
Torre responded, “We’ll have the park open in time in the a.m. to prevent back ups and conflict with the school children.”
Goodlander J. Julie asked, “Did they tell you how many of the slips are to be rented out and what the access to them will be?”
Torre answered, “Slips will be rented and available for short term tie-up to visit the store”
Because these are all issues that will have a heavy impact on the quality of life for the people who live in Goodland, the county’s Park and Recreation officials will be attending Goodland’s January Civic Association meeting to gather input from the community on items they’d like in the store and to answer questions.
There are a few people in Goodland pleased that this land did not turn into a gated condominium community or a place dense with single family homes. They see this open space as accessibility to the backwaters of the Ten Thousand Islands and to the Gulf of Mexico, a benefit to those otherwise without water access. The fishing docks, walking path, picnic area, meeting room, and ship store will be readily available to all.
Those who love and know Goodland hope that opening this land to the public goes hand in hand with an awareness that this fishing village with its pioneer history and the people of Goodland are a priceless gift of southwest Florida’s lifestyle.