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Some want to take matters into their own hands

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For some time, the residents of the Isles of Capri have been disturbed by the cut-through ruts left in empty lots and along public right-of-ways, and the doughnut-shaped tire marks left on their roads by unknown vehicles.

They are also disturbed by the lack of attention of some motorists who ignore the posted speed limits along their major thoroughfare and on the narrow streets. Numerous accidents have left property damage and injuries.

"It is time to take action and put a stop to this," said resident Paul Westberry.

Pedestrians, bikers and motorists have said that they fear for their safety and that of their children and pets, and want something done about it. What has been most disturbing is that many of the residents say they recognize some of the offenders as residents of Capri as they pass by them at record speeds on motorcycles, in trucks and sedan, even crossing solid lines.

Prior to the Capri Christian Church Easter Sunday tent service this year that hosted more than 1,000 people, a crew of volunteers had to spend hours shoveling and filling the ruts in the center of the business isle just so attendees could park and be able to walk to the tent for the service. Pastor Curt Ayers was at the helm of the dirty and laborious endeavor.

Many suggestions for curbing the problems have come forth. Speed bumps, boulders to outline the grassy areas, hidden cameras, increased sheriff's deputy patrols, and a neighborhood watch at specific hours of the night are among the ideas offered.

Randy Whitson, president of the Capri Community Inc. civic association, asked for help from Collier County -- a meeting with someone of "high authority" in the Collier County Sheriff's Office, with the civic association board of directors and interested residents in hopes of finding solutions before problems escalate.

Some residents want to take matters into their own hands, fearing that the county might move too slowly and someone may be hurt sooner than later.

Tom and Cindy Bauer have gotten permission to post "Slow for Wildlife" signs on the straightaway of Capri Boulevard where the speed limit is set at 45 mph, the highest allowed on the isles. The county has posted lower speed limit signs on all of the curves, in front of the children's park, and throughout the isles. Even additional information signage at the intersection of Kon Tiki Drive and Capri Boulevard has been added to minimize accidents at that intersection. A sidewalk was installed years ago along West Pelican Street (one of the busiest and most narrow streets on the isles) to get walkers and bikers off the road to allow greater passage for motorists.

Some residents feel a sense of helplessness and have submitted comments to be posted on the Capri Coconut tele in hopes of encouraging a neighborhood approach to finding a solution.

"Hi Coconut tele, along with Mr. Westberry and others, I think there are many of us concerned about the cut-thru' s and leaving rubber on Capri Boulevard, however what can we do to prevent these things from happening?" wrote resident George Caster.

"As it is a rare occurrence that any of these events are ever witnessed by any of our more responsible citizens, an educated guess might tell us that these events mostly take place during the wee hours of the morning when most of us are sleeping.

"We can scream all we want for more police monitoring, but it just isn't going to happen; there are far too many true high crime areas in the county for the police to spend hours and hours patrolling Capri all night looking for what they would consider misdemeanor violations, wrote Caster.

"That just will never happen, so forget that avenue and think of things that could actually work." "I don't know much about cameras, but Mr. Westberry's idea of a motion activated camera is probably a good one," Caster continued. "How about forming a neighborhood watch for the island, particularly from the Capri welcome sign to the field in question in the middle of the business island; best of all might be for the Capri Community Association to appoint a fact-finding committee, contact the owners of the field to see if permission could be obtained to place rocks (boulders) around the field ... Probably no one else is going to help in getting this done, so if it is to happen at, it will be local Capriers who will have to make it happen. Be happy that we are not a high crime area that needs patrolled and policed 24/7, just another neighbor's thoughts."

"With an increasing number of young families moving in, many of whom have small children and pets, we have to do something now," said board member Kelly Sprigg in a recent Capri Community meeting. "What's it going to take? Do we have to wait for a child to get hit?"

Contact Ann Hall at ahall7911@coconuttele.net

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