Around Town: Collier County’s first paddlecraft park ready for paddlers

DONNA FIALA

With much anticipation and excitement, the Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park has officially opened.

The ribbon cutting was held on Friday, March 30, and was attended by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) officials, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve staff, Collier County Manager Leo Ochs, myself, and happy people from the Collier County Parks and Recreation Department.

Rookery Bay and FDEP financed the park and worked cooperatively with the county to plan the design for the park, which includes overflow parking for boaters from the County Road 951 (Collier Boulevard) boat ramp, a bathroom, a covered picnic shelter, and a lovely view of this gorgeous area of the Gulf of Mexico.

The kayakers were excitedly waiting to launch their crafts and were happy to learn that the launching fee had been dropped from $8 to $4.

It’s the first dedicated paddlecraft park in Collier County, and my guess is it will be utilized to its full extent. J. Robert was there to serenade us with island music as we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

• The other day I stopped by to listen to a pre-application meeting held with Collier County staff and a proposed developer who wants to build yet another used car lot on Davis Boulevard, this one being at the old site of the Sprint/Comcast building near Airport-Pulling Road

As I listened, they said they needed a chain link fence in the back of the building and wanted reduced landscaping along the front. When I was asked, I assured everyone in the room that we were tired of chain link fences, used car lots, and we definitely want improved landscaping.

I just thought you might want to know what someone is thinking of doing to that lot. Yes, they will keep the building. Let’s face it, if someone takes a building off the inventory and uses it for another business, they don’t have to pay impact fees. I’d like to see them use that money saved to improve and upgrade the property. Heaven knows the area is looking tired and in need of upgrading.

• A number of residents signed up for my Domestic Animal Services (DAS) tour recently, and what a pleasure it was to see all that takes place at this wonderful, clean, caring facility. There were volunteers everywhere walking the dogs, petting the cats and helping wherever they could.

We had about 25 people in our tour group and all were amazed at all the services that are provided by DAS, and how large the facility is. Speaking of animals, I wasn’t aware that people can be foster parents for little puppies. My son Todd and his beautiful wife have been looking for a puppy but weren’t ready to adopt one yet, but when they found out they could be foster parents for 4 darling, very young puppies, they jumped at the opportunity. Of course they’ve fallen in love with them and are now planning on adopting two of the puppies when they’re old enough to be adopted.

• Recently I spent a lovely morning at Nancy Markham and Carol Fries’ home in Lakewood. Lila Zuck stopped in and while we talked, she mentioned how nice it would be if someone bought the old dilapidated “All Flowers” building on U.S. 41 East and transformed it into a Dairy Queen! We keep begging for one out here, but as yet it has not appeared. Do you remember when we had one at Gulf Gate Plaza? Yes, it was owned by Tom Cannon way back when.

It seems there is always so much to write about and not enough space to get it all in, and by the time two weeks have gone by the news is old and there are other things to write about.

Connect with Donna Fiala at donnafiala@gmail.com.

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