Residents worry Naples 2020 plan will cause city to lose its charm, but development keeps it thriving

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Naples (WINK News)

“We got it all right here in Naples, Florida!” At least that’s what visitor Dwayne Garwood had to say. He and his wife have been visiting Naples for about five years and say they love the weather, the beaches and the people.

Visitors like Garwood make for more people on the beach and in the streets of Naples.

“It’s grown. Obviously, a lot has changed structurally,” said Naples resident George Dondanville.

More construction projects and bigger buildings are popping up within the city.

”Over the last four or five years we’ve seen a lot of redevelopment that’s been outside our land codes,” said Janet Ferry who also lives in Naples.

She worries the small-town feel that Naples once had is getting left behind.

”They’re covering more landmass, they’re removing green space, they’re increasing the number of units in the building,” she said.

However, commercial real estate broker Dave Wallace says development helps keep the local economy thriving.

”The benefits are the tax space. The tax space supports whats going on in Collier County. If you want to maintain these pristine beaches then you got to bring in the people that are going to pay for it, come in here and spend money,” Wallace said.

To better manage that growth, Naples is finalizing an action plan for the future, a document promising to preserve Naples’ small-town character and culture.

”Very thoughtful and I think it came up with a lot of good conclusions,” Dondanville said.

Ferry hopes once the plan is finalized, it will protect the very things that draw people to the area.

“All the wonderful things that people care about and people come here for and tourists come to enjoy,” she said.

This issue will come up again at the city council meeting to be held on April 1.

If you’d like to see the Naples 2020 plan for yourself, click here.

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