Saturday, November 27, 2021

Changes & Moving Forward

Coastal Comments


Last week I mentioned the new building about to be constructed on U.S. 41 East and Bayshore Drive, but I never went further about all the construction taking place on Thomasson Drive, close to the Botanical Garden. It’s a huge project and a lot of dollars as the Bayshore CRA constructs a large roundabout to handle all the traffic in that area, including boats that must get through that intersection. While they are at it, they will add landscaping, repair the existing sidewalk, and upgrade the stormwater system for that area. If you haven’t driven down there in a year or so, you won’t even recognize it. There is regentrification going on everyplace in East Naples, and this is a major project! For you residents who have lived here for more than 20 years, and those who have just gotten here and had no idea what it was before, it’s amazing! This area was probably the most dangerous area in Collier County, and now families enjoy the outdoor eating establishments, take their kids to the Garden, go to Sugden Park to fish with their kids or see a waterskiing show, eat at one of the charming little places along the way, or of course, there is always 360 Market awaiting you, or the Pickleball Courts, or Celebration Park, probably one of the most talked about areas of all! WHAT a transformation! Of course, the Brewery is marvelous, and for those who aren’t beer drinkers like me, they have an outstanding homemade Root Beer like they used to make Root Beer Floats with!! 

And now we have Goodland being transformed as I write! It will take a little while, but not a year or anything, to raise the two-lane road, widen it slightly, while protecting the Mangroves, and build a sidewalk. Go see it now, then see it again in another month, and DO stop into the restaurants or Stans to help them stay in business while all this is happening. It’s going to be a tough summer this year with all that going on, but they are working hard to get as much as they can done before the rains stop them. 

*A few years ago, we were all reading about a new project that was making its way through the County Government in place of the shambles that existed at the triangle corner of U.S. 41 East and Davis Boulevard. The new developers had a great idea that would completely change the whole area with a high-end hotel, restaurants, shops, etc. The county commission voted to approve with the proviso that the City of Naples would not try to annex the property before it became a gorgeous development and making money. The developers, Fred Pezeshkan and Jerry Starkey agreed and signed the contract. This one development will change the entire area for the better and provide jobs for people in the area. Yes, it’s a little tall, and there’s nothing else like it in the area, but these developers don’t do anything unless it is the finest! I’m excited to see them move forward. Businesses in that area have already started improving their appearance to be a part of this great improvement. If you drive by now, you will notice many rundown vacant buildings have been torn down and they are already cleaning up and building new terrific buildings to house the businesses, getting it ready for the change, which will improve home values and reduce the blighted look. This will be fun for all to watch as it changes the whole landscape of the area. It’s really fun to watch and see great improvements right before your eyes! Even people who don’t live nearby will probably want to stop and see how they are doing occasionally, just to keep up with the action. I believe it will be like watching a metamorphosis taking place right before your eyes! It will take a couple years to build, but it will be fascinating! See you there!

*The East Naples Civic Association has two things to announce as they move forward following the COVID era and are swinging into full gear! ENCA meets the third Thursday of every month at 11:30 AM with lunch at The Player’s Club in Lely Resort. Reservations are needed. Please phone 239-434-1967 for the reservation line and record the names and how many will be attending. The member cost for lunch is $22, and guests are $25. Checks only at the registration table (Membership renewal and new member sign-up will be available at the luncheon). This month we have FOUR speakers, each from a different restaurant in East Naples, talking about how COVID affected them, the challenges they faced during the COVID shutdown, what they did to innovate and continue to be successful, how they recovered, what was the effect on their waitstaff and behind the scenes staff, etc. Masks are required when not seated at your table. Speakers will be Chef Asif Syed – the winner of the best chef in America award against Bobby Flay – from 21 Spices, Mary Beth Atwood, General Manager of Alice Sweetwater’s Bar & Grille, Rebecca Maddox, owner of Three60 Market and Celebration Park, and last – Patrick Jira, Manager of Outback Steakhouse! What a lineup that is!! I’m so excited I can hardly wait! Last day to register is May 16, 2021. You won’t want to miss this one, and on its heels, we have more dynamic speakers for the next few months! 

*And please join me in congratulating our President Jacob and Alexandria (Smith) Winge on their marriage just last week!!! Congratulations to these two really wonderful people as they start a new life together!



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