State of the City – November 2016

Mayor Bill BarnettI find it hard to believe that it has been six months since the Mayoral election. The time just seems to fly by and it’s amazing that Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season are right around the corner.

The Mayor’s office has been a busy place as many good things have and continue to happen in our City.

Central Avenue is in the final completion stages and once again I want to reach out to those merchants that have been affected by this project and thank them profusely for their patience and perseverance that they have endured. Our City staff has made and continues to make every effort to keep them in the daily loop and that includes my fellow City Council members and myself.

Hopefully by the time you read this article it will be 90 plus percent done. Two weeks ago we had a look at the 30 percent completed design phase for our 15-acre Baker Park. We were all impressed with what we saw and I know for a fact you will be as well. As I am this writing this article a video is being prepared for all to see showing what we envision this park to look like when finished. The video should be finished sometime in October and will be able to be seen by going to our City website which is We are anticipating that the actual work will be started at the end of 2017. A new City Dock (much needed) has been budgeted and approved and we are submitting all the necessary permits to get this project moving.

I expect in the very near future a comprehensive report from our staff with regard to a directive they received from us last spring about how we will deal with the traffic now and in the future within our City. It’s not just about traffic light synchronization in the City of Naples. It is about the continued growth in the County. We have been told about new developments that will be built east of I-75 and will contain shopping centers that have name brand stores that will fit every budget and create one stop shopping. Allegedly this will make it easier to not have to travel and we will see less traffic coming our way. It all sounds good except for one small fact and that is “they don’t build beaches with those developments,” so we need to have a rock solid plan that will take a lot of planning and co-operation from the County and the Florida Department of Transportation.

As the Holiday Season approaches I want to shout out to our local businesses that are fondly called momand- pop stores. Are they a dying breed in Naples? One might think so, but I still see them popping up in our City and I’m sure in the County as well. I support them every chance I get! I will try and mention a few in future articles that I write in Life in Naples. I remember about 20 plus years ago a small mom-and-pop pharmacy located at 848 1st Avenue North, in Naples called Harrington’s. Well, it has re-opened at the same location and is called Naples Pharmacy. The pharmacist – owner is a very personable young man whose name is Michael Aquino. I was so fed up with having to deal with big pharmacies that I decided to give Naples Pharmacy my business. It isn’t a lot, but it sure is nice to walk into that business and be greeted by your first name, have your order ready, and be able to chat with Michael about everything from sports to the weather in Naples and not be hurried up. I am so pleased that I made that move.

Another newly opened business that absolutely puts a huge smile on my face when I walk in is named Wholesome Hound. They are a natural pet food market and grooming spa located at 198 Tamiami Trail North. The owners are Stephanie Zaiser and Molly Havig, two locals who were raised in Naples, have been friends since third grade at Lake Park Elementary school. They moved away from Naples, tried Big City life, and returned to a place that was home for them, Naples.

You have to go in there to appreciate what they have both for dogs and cats. It’s worth the trip for that personal friendly service where you are a name, not a number and their store is amazing! Please let me know if you know of a mom-and-pop store that you feel deserves an honorable mention.

May you all have a Happy, Healthy, Thanksgiving! We all have something to be thankful for living in beautiful Naples, Florida! My e-mail is: I do respond!

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