Someone posed some interesting questions for me and asked if I could find the answers, so here you go, Val! If you drive down U.S. 41 E. very often, you’ve noticed that there is an area that had been filled with tall Melaleuca—your allergies probably noticed it first—and toppled trees and debris, which has been cleared, and many people are asking the same question. This is the next phase of the Isles of Collier Preserve, which will start with 66 villas in the area being cleared along U.S. 41. The next phase will be an additional 106 units further inside of the Isles. The product was listed as “attached villas.” While the ORIGINAL Isles’s PUD does show the possibility of a connection to St. Andrews Blvd, the CURRENT plan for this project does not make that connection and specifically shows the internal roadway for that project ending in a cul-de-sac instead of connecting to U. S. 41 at that point. I’m sure this will give the folks in Lely Golf Estates some great relief! They have been very fearful up to this point.
- You’ve all seen the clearing of the land and the construction beginning for the new Keiser University on U. S. 41 E. next to the Towne Centre Shopping Mall, I’m sure. They are approved for two buildings, one at 40,000 Sq. Ft. and one at 25,000 Sq. Ft.—both two-story buildings. They anticipate initially 200 students, but the buildings would allow the expansion to include between 400 – 600 students. Their programs will mainly center on the medical industry, including nursing, technicians, X-Rays, lab work, and so much more. They have indicated they would like to be open by the end of this year. With the need for medical professionals in these fields, I would imagine this university should be quite busy teaching and training to fill the available jobs. As we hear more, we’ll fill you in.
- Other people have asked about Walker Marina on Goodland and the rebuilding of the hurricane-damaged dry boat storage buildings. The Marina owners want to replace all of the buildings that were damaged, both in Hurricanes Irma and Wilma! In order to do so, they need some deviations from the new code to coincide with what they had allowed at the time they were built. There has been a notice posted requesting those deviations. Those deviations will probably get to the C.C. Planning Commissioner in February, for those who are interested in attending. The Planning Commission meets on Thursdays, so look for their notice in the newspaper, or call the county at 239-252-5717 or 239-252-4666. One of those numbers should get you an answer.
- I would like us to start a letter-writing campaign to ask Fleming’s Restaurant to come to the newly built, but not yet dedicated, facility that looks perfect for a restaurant—and actually looks like a Flemings—next to Hobby Lobby, in the same shopping center as one of their other restaurants: Outback Steak House! They know how successful that place has been, as well as the very successful Carrabba’s, but many in our particular area, including Marco Island, have been looking for an upscale Steak House, and most definitely Fleming’s fits that description. I’ve asked around and gotten many positive responses, and NO negative answers. I think merchants want and need to know what the public is looking for, so let’s tell them! We NEED them! Please write to Leah in Guest Relations at www.flemingssteakhouse.com/locations/. Remember when we all wrote to suggest that the next Culver’s would locate in East Naples? It is the second one they built, and it has been a success. Fleming’s will be a huge success in that location, right in front of the magnificent Lely Resort upscale community with 5,000 homes in the upper-income range, plus down the street is Fiddler’s Creek, Eagle Creek Golf Estates, Treviso Bay Resort, Isles of Collier Preserve, Naples Reserve, Naples Lakes Country Club, Forest Glen, Marco Island, and the list goes on and on! All seem to be waiting for an upscale restaurant like 21 Spices—one of the top Indian Restaurants in the Nation—and Chef Asif who won the contest over Bobby Flay, and the wonderful locally owned Eurasia we all love, and the terrific French Restaurant Le Bistro Bagatelle, and more. Help us win a Fleming’s Restaurant for our area. Sit down at your computer and write a note. I’ll start now, just after I hit send on this column.
- We’ve talked about the 4 WaWa’s and the 4 Race Trac’s, and the Car Washes, and the Storage Facilities all building in this area, but there is a positive about all that: its new construction tearing down dilapidated buildings and doesn’t generate much traffic. Well, I’ve noted there are more dentists’ offices locating here than people! Just a little exaggeration, sorry, but there are a lot of them locating here now. I wonder how the dentists who have been here for many years will survive with all the other ones coming on board. My dentist—the greatest by the way—will survive because they ARE the greatest with the newest equipment and the friendliest staff you’ll find anywhere. Sorry, I don’t want to name them here, but it’s a husband/wife team. Call me.
- The Republican Party recently held a 3 Kings Fiesta to meet the many Hispanic people who live in our area, and it was very successful! What fun it was, and the children are beautiful! Enrique Padron and his darling daughter were there, and she stole my heart! Enrique assists Congressman Mario Diaz-Ballart and even lives right here! It would be hard to find nicer people than the people we met! Nannette Rivera, from Marco Island, was the creator for the idea of getting together to celebrate the 3 Kings Fiesta and invite our friends from Marco Island and East Naples. I wish you could have seen the people there! Bill McDaniel was the other commissioner there, but we also had Crystal Kinzel—the Clerk of Courts, and Jennifer Edwards—the Supervisor of Elections, and Rep. Bob Rommel was represented by his wife Sandra, who sang “God Bless America,” and the Chairman of the Republican Party of Collier County Russell Tuff, and the Chairman of the Marco Island Republican Party Litha Berger. (They renamed it South Collier Republican Party, but it’s really Marco Island, and right now there’s a little confusion, so I’ll just call it Marco Island. They are a great group and very active.) One of the Three Kings was our own Joe Granda! He looked very stately, to be sure. The event was held at the Florida Sports Park, or in other words: The Swamp Buggy Hall. What a GREAT place to use for get-togethers! You can easily fit 500 people in there, and they have kitchen facilities and a stage. They hold weddings and celebrations at the hall, plus community events, etc., and it’s a LOT cheaper than renting a hotel! You might want to try it sometime.
With that folks, Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!