Not everyone on board for safety-related changes to downtown Naples

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Big changes are in the works for downtown Naples.

The Community Redevelopment Agency wants to make 5th Avenue South more people-friendly, but not everyone supports the construction.

Some say it would make an already busy street more congested.

The area does get crowded, but the project manager says these changes relate to safety concerns, from people and businesses.

The changes would, essentially, allow people to walk to and from their favorite shops and eat at restaurants more comfortably.

Proposed changes for areas in downtown Naples (City of Naples)

It’s a concept plan: out with the old and in with the new.

But after living here for close to two decades, Joan and Gino Donofrio say, not so fast.

“Rather leave it the way it is,” they said. “It’s very nice for the people who live here all year long.”

The City of Naples CRA will consider changing several areas of the street in order to expand sidewalks and cut into the shrubbery along the street.

Plus, certain outdoor dining areas may have a bit more room to feed customers.

But none of it will happen overnight.

“I don’t like the construction,” said Angie Daniels who lives in Naples. “I don’t like to see a lot of that going on, but more outdoor spacing is nice.”

The project ranges from 3rd Street to 9th Street including Sugden Plaza, making it more of an open space and adding to the overall experience of downtown Naples.

“It’s nice the way it is right now,” said Tony Casoria, who was visiting the area.

He and Agnes DeMaria visit from the east coast and believe there’s always room for improvement.

“I love it and I would certainly come back again and again and I would recommend it,” said DeMaria.

The expected cost of the project depends on how much work goes into the streetscape and how much work needs to be done under the ground. We should learn more next year.


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