As a result of the last local election, the Naples City Council has three new members as well as a new Mayor. In other words a change of 57 percent.
The Collier County Board of Commissioners will have three new members after the Fall election or a 60 percent change in the Commission. Why is this information of interest you ask? With such a significant change in both governing bodies there is an opportunity to interface with one another is a new way. Both the city and county are managed by professional and experienced individuals. The staff of the respective bodies are knowledgable in their roles.
I have spoken with every electable County Commission candidate and they all would entertain a joint meeting of the City Council and Commissioners. The city of Naples will always be ‘Gravity Central’ in Collier County. There is a projected growth of two to three times our present population within the county by 2050. Now is the time to start understanding what that means and how it effects both our city and the county.
There are many issues to discuss solving traffic problems in the city, will more east west and north south corridors assist, do we need one way streets? What if the vast space at Naples Airport was used for parking during season for the Fifth Avenue and Third Street work force? A shuttle could run from 2 p.m. – 2 a.m. which would potentially take 800 cars off the streets and out of the parking garages. This could cost $200,000 a season; however, a new parking garage for 300 cars could be 11 or 12 million. The strain on the City’s infrastructure is growing and will continue to do so. Should we consider moving some of the events and parades out of the City proper? How do we obtain better financial participation from the County for our infrastructure which is used by all?
We have 13 individual neighborhoods in the City and they should never lose their individual identity! Affordable housing, can we expand what we have? Or with increasing property values will we lose some of what we have to high end development?
What plans need to be discussed now to protect our world class beaches, shopping, our environment, neighborhoods and water supply? These are all precious components of what we call the “Naples Brand.” There is more to do but the above will do for a start. I ask again, IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN ?