From Paula Brothers
President Naples Zoo Board of Directors
By now, many of you have heard that a component of the Collier County Greenway project impacts the pond along Goodlette-Frank Road. We love the pond. It’s been an iconic part of our history for decades and we share your concerns. It is important to distinguish that this is a County project. Naples Zoo is a nonprofit organization that leases land from Collier County. It is by the nature of the County Greenway project location that this activity affects Naples Zoo.
While it appears that Naples Zoo has become the public face of this issue, the Zoo is just one partner in this county project cooperating with numerous organizations involved in the Greenway. This situation involves many experts and engineers in various roles trying to work out a solution through the real world complexities involving county and state agency requirements of transportation, fire, public health and safety, water management, and others. These partners are meeting and reviewing potential alternative options.
This pond is not a native spring. In fact it is a manmade pond supplemented by a well and pump from the 1950s. Current South Florida Water Management District regulations require that withdrawal of this water be brought up to regulation compliance. This might mean that in the future the pump may not be available to maintain the water levels. This permitting is currently under review by Southwest Florida Water Management District.
This is a difficult situation for all of us who love the pond. The Zoo Board of Directors and staff would be delighted if a consensus solution to maintain this type of aesthetic water feature can be found and we will continue to work toward finding a plausible solution.