Saturday, October 16, 2021




Donna Fiala

Have you noticed or is it my imagination??? It seems a few more cars are on the road recently – a sign that our winter residents are beginning to come back home. If you remember, last year these wonderful people started coming back early. It used to be that the influx started in November, then it moved back to October, and now it seems they are coming back even earlier. Also, you may have noticed that as soon as they start coming back, our volunteer corps starts swelling and the events begin to happen – the region comes ALIVE! Welcome back, early winter residents. We’ve missed you.

Happily, although things slowed down on Marco, nothing came to a stop and the community spirit continued right through the summer. I know I’ve spoken of Marco Island’s Community Spirit quite a bit, but many don’t realize that same spirit isn’t alive and well in other areas. Marco has something special that cannot be bought or manufactured. It is created by the people within the community!

*Recently the Coastal Breeze celebrated several state and national awards conferred on some of their community writers. It was a fun celebration where we saw people like Monte Lazarus get an award for his humorous writing, and he truly deserves the recognition. He writes just as he talks with his friends and we love to listen to him. Of course, there had to be an award to Craig Woodward for his writing on historical events and early settlers on Marco Island and its neighboring communities. I save many of them in my history file at home so that I can refer to them often. I love reading about our history. Strangely enough, I never cared for history in school and now I love it! I guess because Craig makes it so interesting.

Also, something you will probably have NOT read regarding the awards event is the tribute we paid to our publisher, Val Simon. Val is always there encouraging Coastal Breeze writers, making suggestions about content and style, giving “refresher reviews” about spelling and word meanings, reminding us to get our columns in by deadline, answering our questions, and is ever our stalwart support system. Thanks for all you do for us and for the community, Val! Coastal Breeze has really become part of the fabric of this community.

*Are most of you familiar with a new development beginning to take place on Collier Blvd./951, north of U.S. 41? The developer lives part time on Marco Island and is truly a gentleman to be respected and admired.

The name of the new development is Hacienda Lakes. The developer has finished with all the permitting processes easily and is now locating equipment on the property to begin clearing for infrastructure. The retail/commercial property, located along the main thoroughfare of Collier Blvd. and wrapped around the Swamp Buggy grounds and the Sheriff’s Youth Fishing Camp, will also have access from Rattlesnake Hammock Rd. Both facilities will remain in full use. Hacienda Lakes will contain over 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space and over 40,000 sq. ft. of office/commercial space. Most of the wetlands and precious environmental lands at the east end of the property will be preserved, forever. Also permitted are over 1,700 residential units. It will be a perfect area for new residents to access any location easily – Marco Island, U.S. 41, Golden Gate, hospitals, shopping, East Naples, and some great restaurants right in the area.

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