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Updates and information about the Lake Park neighborhood by the neighborhood association
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It's Been Awhile, Lake Park

I know, but not a lot happened over the holidays and my family is about to add another kid to the Lake Park neighborhood family. My New Year's Resolution is to get back onto the update train. So, here's a recap of what's going on in our community:

Passidomo Seeks to Shut Out Beachgoers

Proposed legislation could limit the public's access to the beach if passed. The Possession of Real Property bill would prohibit local governments from passing or enforcing local customary use ordinances, which currently protect public access to beaches.

Senate Bill 47 Sponsored by Our Own Senator Passidomo Could Privatize Access to Naples' (and Florida's) Beaches

Under the bill, sponsored by Florida state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R) and state Rep. Katie Edwards (D), oceanfront homeowners could argue they have a superior right to the beach on their oceanfront property.

The proposed bill would also permit them to bring a cause for damages against trespassers.

"The beach belongs to the public. It belongs to everyone, not just the oceanfront homeowners," homeowner Bob Grovestein said.

"That's pretty ridiculous. I mean, that's one of the things that everybody loves about Jacksonville is our beaches and if you limit that, I think you're really hurting Jacksonville," beachgoer Judy Peek said.

The proposed legislation could also subject homeowners to private beach taxes. The bill was struck down last year, but a similar ordinance passed in Walton County in the panhandle. Read more about the push to privatize public beach access.

Our Own Terry Hutchison Running for City Council

If you couldn't tell by all the yard signs, the president of our neighborhood association is running for city council. Terry Hutchison is the only Lake Park candidate running for city council. Without Terry, our neighborhood will not have a single representative on city council. Learn more about Terry's campaign here. City elections are on February 6th, 2018.

CRA to Hold Meetings, Naples Square Offers Land for Parking Garage

Each spring, the city updates its five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP), a proposed plan for major public improvements (over $10,000) scheduled for the next five fiscal years.

This year, the CRA’s capital planning will take on particular importance. First, there are no specific CIP projects yet delineated beyond fiscal 2019-20. This will allow renewed attention to the eastern neighborhoods in the CRA such as the 41-10th Street corridor and the River Park neighborhood.

Secondly, the CRA received a letter from Gulfshore Playhouse proposing a partnership with the CRA to construct a new city parking structure, which would be adjacent to Gulfshore Playhouse’s new home within the CRA district on the southwest corner of First Avenue South and Goodlette-Frank Road. Gulfshore Playhouse is offering to donate land for a 350- to 450-space parking garage for use by its own patrons, but also accessible for visitors to Baker Park and other developments in and around Naples Square and the adjacent neighborhoods.

CRA Public Outreach

The CRA will host a series of public forums to allow citizens and property owners the opportunity to offer suggestions for future CRA capital projects and to comment on the Gulfshore Playhouse garage proposal.

The CRA welcomes your ideas. A project that doesn’t appear in the 2014 redevelopment plan, yet fulfills the plan’s goals and objectives, may be considered.

Below is a listing of meetings; you may attend any or all of these to listen or bring suggestions:

  • Special CRA town hall meeting: Thursday, Feb. 8, 6:30 p.m. at River Park Community Center, 301 11th St. N., Naples.
  • Special CRA town hall meeting: Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2 p.m. at Naples City Hall, 735 Eighth St. S., Naples.
  • Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Committee (CRAAB): Monday, Feb. 26, at City Hall.
  • Meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA); Wednesday, March 21, following the City Council meeting at City Hall.

Citizens and property owners can also contact Ellen Seigel as CRA chair for any additional information or suggestions about the CRA or future CRA projects. Ellen Seigel can be contacted at eseigel@naplesgov.com or 239-207-0806. Read more from Ellen's guest commentary here.

Street Painting in Lake Park

Last Sunday evening, contractors refreshed some of Lake Park's streets. The contractor mistakenly believed they were able to work in residential neighborhoods overnight. City staff has apologized for the mixup and appreciates everyone's understanding for this honest mistake. 

FEMA to Cut Down Canopy Trees for City

City staff has marked 'damaged' canopy trees to be removed by FEMA. FEMA has been marking trees and readying them for removal. Expect to see tree crews from FEMA taking out some of the canopy trees. No mahogany canopy trees located under a power line will be replaced under current city policy.

City to Consider $25mil "Road Diet" on US41

"There is a long distance to travel before the recommendations become reality, or are scrapped, but the Naples City Council is split over what surely will be controversial. It’s called a “road diet.”

Those fed up with traffic in core Naples will choke over the recommendation to reduce U.S. 41 from six driving lanes to four along about a mile in the city. The “road diet” would reduce U.S. 41 to four lanes between the restaurant-shopping area of Fifth Avenue South and Seventh Avenue North, near NCH Healthcare System’s Baker Hospital Downtown.

Council members received the study’s final draft report in October. Most don’t like the idea of replacing two of the travel lanes along that stretch with street-side parking. Opinions were split, however, on keeping six driving lanes or instead reducing to four vehicle lanes while using the other two for landscaping, pedestrians and cyclists, or mass transit stops.

Consultants suggested 28 percent of the traffic now using U.S. 41 would find another north-south Naples route. Alternatives include Goodlette-Frank Road, Eighth Street and Tenth Street. We’d note those alternatives aren’t just commercial areas; there are some school zones and residential areas along those roads. Also worth noting is the additional strain of diverted traffic on Goodlette-Frank Road’s intersections at Golden Gate Parkway and U.S. 41 East." Read More From the Naples Daily News.

Ethics Naples Ballot Initiative

Community activists are seeking to strengthen our community's ethics ordinance. City Council discussed limiting the scope of the ethics code last year, to public outcry. 

A newly formed Naples political action committee is lobbying for a referendum on February’s municipal ballot that would poll voters on the creation of a local ethics commission governing conduct for city officials.

They say with an up to date Ethics Code, public officials – elected and appointed – would have effective guidance on how to best handle these situations as well as rapid resolution of any complaints. In addition, the City’s residents would be assured of an independent and professional assessment of their concerns that our government is fully committed to the needs and desires of voters, taxpayers and residents.

Learn more about this Ethics Naples and their campaign for an improved ethics policy for the City of Naples. I'm sure we will be reporting on this more as the political election season heats up this winter.

City of Naples Launches New Website and Seeks to Fill Board Vacancies

The new website boasts an easy-to-use interface and mobile-friendly access. While there, take the opportunity to learn about and apply for open board and committee positions. Specifically, The Public Art Advisory Committee (disclosure: I'm a member) and Code Enforcement Board (among others) have current vacancies.

It is imperative that Lake Park residents get involved in local government to better represent the interests of our families and community.

Learn more about applying for a board position at www.naplesgov.com/bc

Naples Police Beat

The police have made at least 10 arrests for cannabis since December. There's been some petty theft around businesses, car thefts, and a few DUIs. Some identity theft stuff. What I consider typical and not of much concern. But the 6th Ave N shooting/murder is "an ongoing investigation." Otherwise, it's been quiet in Lake Park.

Coffee with a Cop

The police have been doing some community outreach with "Coffee with a Cop." Usually there's only a couple days notice and I can't get them into my sporadic email newsletters. So, let me know if you want to be kept in the loop on this initiative and I'll make sure you get the invite:

Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and increase knowledge of the Naples Police Department’s role within the City of Naples organization.

The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable while on patrol.

Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction. Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the county, as local police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve.

The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members one cup of coffee at a time.

That's All, Folks!

Thanks for reading this time's Lake Park Digest. I'm Derek Perry, the Correspondence Secretary for the Lake Park Neighborhood Association. I send out emails on behalf of the neighborhood association. Feel free to email me anything you'd like included in future mailings. I hope to provide regular updates that will help our community stay informed and grow stronger.

My mailing address is:
Lake Park Neighborhood Association
PO Box 11282
Naples, FL 34101-1282

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