Along with beach renourishment on Marco’s south beach, the county plans to build a better restroom facility to replace the “two-holer” in its south beach parking lot.
Barry Williams, director of county parks and recreation, made the announcement Thursday during a Town Hall meeting hosted by Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala. The restrooms will be in the parking lot near the county-owned pedestrian beach right-of-way.
County employees, including County Manager Leo Ochs, Jr., turned out to be part of the informational forum held at the Marco Island Historical Museum. More than 125 residents attended.
Williams went on to explain that the sixth boardwalk at county-owned Tigertail Beach is due to open in March with an adjacent restroom facility in operation by late summer.
Caxamabas Pass, one of the county’s busiest boat ramps, will have its operations outsourced to a private vendor. The change should provide better service for customers, Williams said.
Nick Casalanguida, growth management division administrator, told residents they could look forward to an Outback Steakhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar near the corner of U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard. He also outlined construction at the intersection, and how it would affect local residents.
Casalanguida said he would not lie to the public about the congestion that will be created. Although detouring will not be required, lane closures and lane shifts will be necessary to complete the work.
Several residents asked about speed limits on Collier Boulevard, saying more lanes were added and then speed limits lowered. Casalanguida said neither he nor the county manager set speed limits. Required speeds are determined by such factors as road design and curbing, he said.
County Manager Ochs presented a financial perspective. The economy is beginning to rebound with tourism up, unemployment trending down and single-family residence construction improved by double digits, he said.
Since 80 percent of the county’s ad valorem income is provided through residential taxes, the county is actively working to diversify its tax base. By creating a better business climate and attracting new businesses, Ochs said, the tax burden could be spread over a greater number of payers.
“Quality of life is what drives growth in our county,” he said. He pointed to maintaining public amenities and infrastructure as a key to business growth.
Guest speaker U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, outlined spending problems in Federal government.
“Speaking as someone under 40 years old,” he said, “I think we are ready to face the hard issues that previous leaders were afraid to face.”
Radel said passing a Federal budget could solve the country’s problems. In the House, he subscribes to the belief that no budget means no pay for legislators.
A second Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the South Regional Library, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples. County staff will be present at the second meeting.