Mayor Bill’s Corner

Mayor Bill Barnett

The city council election is finished and we are ready to get to work. One incumbent, one former council member and one newcomer grabbed the honors. Linda Penniman, Gary Price, and Terry Hutchison were all sworn in on February 21, and will serve on council through February, 2022. I am constantly asked if I will run for a final term as mayor in 2020 and yes, I am planning on it.

More on that down the road, as I am looking forward to the next two years being productive ones and I can only hope that our new council will continue to have the same working relationship that our current council has experienced for the past two years. Today is February 25 and last week our city manager, Bill Moss tendered
his resignation with intent to retire after being with our city for the past ten years. I was mayor when he was hired in 2007 and, having had the experience of serving with three former city managers, I can truly say that our city and the Naples community have truly been blessed to have had the benefit of Bill Moss as our city manager.

It was not an easy decision for Bill, but when he told me why, it made perfect sense. He said to me, “Mayor Bill, I want to be able to do some of the things that I have never had the chance to do while I still can.” Bill will stay with us to help with the process of finding a new city manager and to work with us to help complete our budget.
His last day of work will be October 2, 2018, and then he will use accumulated personal leave until January 2, 2019.

During the latter period, he will be available to assist city council, staff and if needed his successor. Our very fine assistant city manager Roger Reinke will stay with us, which is certainly a big plus for our city. It will not be an easy task to find a replacement for Bill, because he has set the bar to new heights.  I can finally say Baker Park construction has started! It was a big day for many of us when we had a double ribbon cutting last week. Not only for the Baker Park groundbreaking, but for the brand-new Blair Family Foundation Bridge that connects the
Gordon River Greenway to Baker Park. For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of walking, running or cycling on the Greenway it is an absolute must do.

With the opening of the Blair Bridge you can go from the Greenway across the bridge and connect with Baker Park. For now, until the park is finished you can follow a specially constructed pathway that meanders along
the southern border of the park and joins Riverside Circle and on to Central Avenue. You can then go downtown or all the way to the beach if that’s your fancy. All in all, it’s what helps us to achieve our healthy living and healthy choices lifestyle. We will continue to make our city more pedestrian, bicycle and driver friendly. When you read this article our new city dock will be open, which is definitely worth seeing. Who knows? You might even decide to charter a half-day fishing trip from one of our awesome fishing captains.

There is some good news about our Naples Pier rebuild: it might be finished sooner than the predicted August date. Don’t hold me to it, but I’m optimistic that it might happen. Just how busy a season has it been? Overheard the other day at our Cambier Park tennis facility was that the first available tennis court last Tuesday wasn’t till 6 pm that night! That’s busy. This might just be the busiest season I’ve seen in the 45 years I have lived here.

I noticed that after Hurricane Irma, we definitely had a positive overall attitude change in Naples. It seems as if we are more appreciative of one another and are generally thankful that we are able to enjoy what Naples has to offer. The thought of what could have happened still looms large in many of our thoughts.

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