Monday, November 16, 2015 / by Michael Donovan
A pier, kayak drop-off, and rolling hills are all elements in the newest design for the much-anticipated Baker Park in Naples. The city has been working on the $15 million project for more than two years.
Naples Mayor John Sorey said he knows people are wondering about the timeline.
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“The first question I got in all the schools, 'When are we going to be able to use the park?' So we've got to get this process completed,” he said.
He wants that to be in the first quarter, so by April.
One person who is excited for the change is Alison Eckstein, a member of the rowing team that uses space on the proposed park site. At this point, the park is a pile of dirt with space for the organization’s equipment further down on the peninsula.
“There are two routes down here and once you find the dry one, you can get your car down here without getting your car caked in mud,” Eckstein said.
She said she’s seen some of the plans.
“I do think it will be worth the wait,” she said.
Rowing Association of Naples President Chuck Roth said he liked the most current plan as well, only asking city council Monday to include the rowing club in their plans. They want to store some equipment at the base of a proposed bridge at the park site.
“The theme of keeping the park as natural as possible is something that is pleasing to all of us,” he said.
One proposal aims to move the bridge, creating some discussion among council members.
“That's another half-a-million dollars. I do not support moving the bridge,” Sorey said.
The city has set aside $7.5 million taxpayer dollars for the project and raised nearly $6 million in donations.
Roth’s only concern at this point?
“That I live long enough to see it!”
There are no firm estimates on when construction would actually start.