Naples city council scales back plans for $15 million park

Author: Nicole Papageorge

NAPLES, Fla. – A proposed $15 million park will not be full of bells and whistles as first planned.

Wednesday, Naples City Council members voted to scale back some of those elaborate plans for the park. Some people are concerned that Baker Park is being built on an old landfill on Riverside Circle.

“Pretty much an absolutely shameful day for the city council, and frankly, I’m embarrassed,” said Naples City Councilman Sam Saad III.

Saad tells WINK News the council should have never chosen what features would be cut from Baker Park.

“Council has no information about the costs of these elements,” said Councilman Saad.  “They have no information about what they’re going to look like.  This is really certain members of council usurping what the people wanted.”

Renderings by MHK architecture and planning show what the massive 15-acre park would have looked like.  But, in a four to three vote, council members decided to get rid of some of the park’s unique features, like the carousel.

“I’m disappointed and I think we betrayed the trust with the citizens involved with the design,” said Naples Mayor, John Sorey.

The mayor says council betrayed donors too who have already given more than $3 million and have pledged at least another $3 million.

Corey Cabral, a developer who was at Wednesday’s meeting says the council made the right move because the park is being built on a landfill that will eventually settle.

“Over the next few decades, this site is going to continue to settle. That’s a proven fact.  nobody denies that,” said Cabral.

Mayor Sorey does.

“That’s a smokescreen,” said Sorey.

City Council also voted to get a second opinion on the landfill to see if, and how much, the park might settle.

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