Tourism funds to go toward Lake Trafford pier

Greg Stanley
Naples Daily News

Lake Trafford in Immokalee will get a new fishing pier. It's just a question of when.

Collier County commissioners have shifted around more than $300,000 in tourism tax funds to replace the lake's 30-plus-year-old public dock. There is still no timeline for the replacement, and it remains to be seen if the money allocated will cover the full cost.

'There's not a start date as far as construction, but in October we will be hiring an engineering firm to come up with design plans,' said Daniel Christenbury, spokesman. 'The whole project will be done in the next couple of years.'

The county was looking at redecking the pier and giving it a fresh coat of paint. But because of its age, the county hired a firm to inspect its structural integrity, too, before work started. The firm recommended that the county replace the pier rather than go forward with any Band-Aid fixes, Christenbury said.

The pier is one of the more popular fishing spots in what is the state's largest lake south of Okeechobee. Largemouth bass have only recently returned after invasive plants — and human efforts to kill those plants — had depleted the lake's oxygen supply for years, killing off most of the fish.

The replacement is sorely needed, said Frank Nappo, of the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency.

'The fact that money is being appropriated and there is interest in using tourism dollars in Immokalee is a really positive step,' Nappo said. 'This is something we've been pushing for because a lot of money has been spent on the Naples pier and on Clam Pass, and we wanted to get some attention. We still have to find out more details — what the money covers and what it doesn't. But this is only a good thing.'