Friday, May 14, 2021

There’s More to the Story

Council Votes to Extend 5th Ave South BID

See you in 10 years.

That’s the parting message the Naples City Council gave 5th Avenue South Business Improvement District (BID) executive director Bruce Barone, Jr. after voting unanimously (7-0) on the resolution to extend the 5th Avenue South BID for an additional 10 years during its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2019.

After the vote Naples Vice Mayor Gary Price said, “I think we all are grateful for how successful you, the property owners and the businesses have made this district. It wasn’t such an easy thing 10 years ago to know how great a thing this would become and it’s because of you and your team and our staff.  It took a lot of heaving lifting and a lot of prayers in the beginning, and you’ve all done a great job. Thank you,” he added.

Created in 2009 at the request of downtown merchants, the 5th Avenue South BID provides the City with the means to assess some 200 merchants to fund marketing and promotional activities.  With the support of the local government and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), which oversees and helps guide private and public initiatives for creating economic development, physical characteristic improvements and investment within the designated CRA district, the BID has helped create the successful downtown district master plan and zoning district in addition to the 5th Avenue South special overlay zoning district.

The BID also designed and installed decorative lighting and landscape improvements, developed a strategic marketing plan for entrepreneurial and small business strategies, secured new sponsors for holiday events and created new activities to draw visitors downtown.

Barone reports the BID has successfully worked to reinvest and guide revitalization efforts and has achieved measureable success reaching tourists and visitors worldwide, attracted and retained new businesses, and solidified relationships with lawmakers and local communities.

Locals will remember when downtown Naples was a very different place. Nearly 10 years of work between the 5th Avenue South (BID) and the City of Naples have helped downtown and 5th Avenue South become one of the most exclusive areas in our state,” believes Barone.  “The BID is responsible for millions of dollars in annual economic activity and has become an iconic image for many in Naples and Collier County. The BID has enjoyed a great relationship with the City and we are looking forward to another decade of growth.”

World Vegetarian Day is Coming

In honor of World Vegetarian Day on Tuesday, October 1, participating BurgerFi restaurants nationwide will offer $5 VegeFi Burgers featuring Crispy Quinoa +Pure-Cut Veggie Burger, White Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, BurgerFi Sauce on a Multigrain Bun or Green Style and $5 Beyond Burgers a plant-based burger with 20 grams of protein that looks, cooks and satisfies like traditional beef, featuring a single Beyond Meat patty, topped with pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and American cheese on this day.

*Only available 10/1/2019. Mention or show this post to redeem offer. Available at participating locations only, one per customer, while supplies last, no substitutions, cannot be combined with other offers. Not valid on delivery or online orders.

FOF Swamp Walks

This season, you can experience the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park three different ways.  Wet or dry, walking or riding, it’s your choice with Friends of Fakahatchee adventures starting in November.

Most visitors to the 85,000 acre park east of Naples find the Ghost Rider Tram Tour the best introduction to Florida’s largest state park.  A naturalist leads each 2 1/2 hour tour and points out interesting aspects of the park. The tour includes a 15 minute walk down an old logging path to see air plants, a variety of ferns, and seasonally blooming orchids.  Tours begin at 10 a.m. on Thursdays at $25 per person.  Tours start Nov. 7.

The Fakahatchee Tram Tour and Swamp Walk combines a guided tram tour of the park’s main road with a 90 minute swamp walk.  Many participants enjoy the wet portion so much that they return for the longer swamp walk.  This $60 adventure is offered Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m beginning Nov. 5.

Florida visitors list the Original Fakahatchee Swamp Walk as one of their most memorable experiences.  A biologist or naturalists leads participants  into knee deep water, where they are surrounded by a profusion of air plants, ferns and orchids.  The  five hour adventure begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays, starting Nov. 16. The fee is $80 or $90 depending on leader chosen.

Details and required reservations, visit and click on “tours and adventures.”

Children’s Services of SWFL to fill service gaps

The Children’s Services Foundation of SWFL (CSF of SWFL) presented awards grants of $2,500 each to support Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program, The Heights Center’s Beyond the Bell program and The Quality Life Center’s ACE After School Program.

The Heights Center’s Beyond the Bell program provides support, remediation and academic enrichment opportunities for K-8 youth facing learning challenges as a result of poverty, limited English proficiency and limited access to educational resources. This program supports academic achievement, encourages creativity and builds community. It helps students maintain and accelerate their mastery of core academic skills to increase their likelihood of school success and reduce the frequency of grade retention.

The Quality Life Center’s ACE (Arts, Character & Education) program is an after-school and summer camp program targeting at-risk children and youth ages 5 to 18. The program includes engaging educational projects to help students become academically competitive, arts to build confidence, discipline and resilience, and consistent character development. The program helps youth overcome their environment and reach their goals.

“Funding comes at an opportune time,” said QLC Executive Director Abdul’Haq Muhammed. “We are completing construction on our new wing, and this grant will provide the means to serve additional children.”

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