News on What's new
Collier County Commissioner Tim Nance wants to sit down May 22 with leaders and volunteers of Immokalee's many non-profit organizations to introduce himself in his role as county commissioner.
He has invited the non-profit agencies to meet with him between 1 p.m and 4 p.m. at the in the courtroom of the Collier Government Center in Immokalee, 106 South First Street (County Road 846).
Nance represents Immokalee and most of Eastern Collier County (District 5) on the county's lawmaking panel. Elected in November 2012, he set up his Immokalee office in the government center in March.
For more information email Nance's assistant, Jim Flanagan@Colliergov.net, or call 239-252-8604.
A native Floridian born in Fort Lauderdale and has lived in Collier County since 1982, following his graduation from the University of Florida where he earned two bachelor degrees: one in political science and the other in horticulture.
He spent the majority of his professional career as a manager with Gargiulo, Inc., one of the largest growers and marketers of fresh market tomatoes in the world and one of Collier County’s largest employers. There he served in a variety of capacities including Manager of Greenhouse and Ornamental Operations and Director of Operations for the Eastern United States.
Florida · Immokalee · What's new
What is now an empty lot at the corner of Immokalee's Main Street and First Street will soon be transformed into a warm and welcoming, aesthetically pleasing central town plaza - or, in the Latin American tradition, a zocalo.
The Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has been given preliminary design plans for the plaza by noted Naples architect David Corban and renowned landscape architect Ellen Goetz. The Immokalee CRA's citizens advisory committee will review the design when it meets May 15 at 8:30 a.m. at Southwest Florida Works, 750 South 5th Street.
The design includes a variety of native plants, walkways, seating areas and a small band shell.
Collier County Commissioners approved the purchase of the two lots at the corner of Immokalee's First Street and Main Street in 2012 and awarded the plaza design contract to Corban in January. Together with a companion gathering spot at Main and 9th Street, the plazas serve as linchpins of the Immokalee Public Realm Plan which won the 2010 Award of Merit from the Florida Planning & Zoning Association.
Click here to read the Public Realm Plan and to see more conceptual drawings and a slide presentation of what the plazas may, eventually, look like. Of course, the drawings on these pages will bear no particular resemblence to the design Corban brings forth in the next few months.
The task of growing and diversifying Immokalee's economy is a multi-faceted endeavor.
Investment from regional and national companies is important but so is the growth and expansion of home-grown Immokalee businesses.
The Salazar Machine & Steel Company is the perfect example of a home-grown business that has prospered with the help of economic incentives available in Immokalee. Founded 12 years ago as a two-man operation, Salazar Machine & Steel has grown into 20,000 square foot operation at the Immokalee Regional Airport. Company Founder Pete Salazar celebrated his expanded operation last week with an open house.
Read what the Naples Daily News had to say about the successful Immokalee business:
Pete Salazar went from working out of his truck to opening his own manufacturing plant.
He started out traveling from one job site to another with a mobile machining and welding service, before opening a 2,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. Now, after about 12 years, Salazar has added 20,000 square feet to his headquarters manufacturing site at Immokalee Regional Airport.
“We are very happy that we have our building,” said Salazar, owner of Salazar Machine & Steel Inc. "It's all about serving our community and growing and creating jobs and training.
"We are excited about what has happened to our business ever since we moved into the Immokalee Airport. It has been growth ever since."
Bernardo Barnhart, president of the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce and vice-president of Florida Community Bank shares Salazar's enthusiasm.
“I’m excited because I’m seeing the growth in the development in Immokalee,” said Barnhart, a native of the town. “It’s a great time for this community.”
Read more in the Naples Daily News.
It has been a most troubling stretch of roadway in northeast Immokalee, filled every day with pedestrians - students and adults - and plenty of vehicle traffic.
But thanks to the Immokalee Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU), a division now of the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), sidewalks along Carson Road will make transit - and life - much easier and safer for hundreds of Immokaleans who depend daily on the short thoroughfare.
The sidewalks, currently being installed and set to be complete by the end of July, run along the west side of Carson Road, from Lake Trafford Road to Westclox Street.
Immokalee's planners and visionaries, sitting as the citizens advisory committee of the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), will met April 24 in its regular session.
The citizens advisory committee is a volunteer group of Immokalee business and civic leaders who guide the CRA in its mission to make the community a shining example of "Florida in the 21st Century."
Members got a glimpse of the preliminary design for the planned First Street Plaza or Zocalo to be built at the corner of Immokalee's Main Street and First Street.
Florida · Immokalee · What's new
Once again the skies over Immokalee were filled April 20-21 with the romance and adventure of huge, colorful hot air balloons and the Seminole Immokalee Casino presented Balloons Over Paradise.
Special from the Naples Daily News:
An uplifting experience for thousands of onlookers occurred this morning as the fog cleared over the Immokalee skies and dozens of colorful hot air balloons took flight.
“You can’t help but smile when you look at these balloons,” said Tony Alves, general manager of the Seminole Casino, which is hosting the second annual Balloons Over Paradise Festival at the Seminole Tribe Youth Ranch.
A fog rolled in just before sunrise that threatened to delay and perhaps cancel the mass ascension of dozens of balloons until Sunday, the second day of the festival. However, the fog lifted just before 9 a.m.
Many attendees said it was great to see something bright, colorful and literally uplifting after a week of national tragedies, including the Boston Marathon bombing and a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled, and, hopefully, this provides everyone some relief after all the bad news,” said Alves, as the balloons began taking flight, one after another, filling the horizon with rainbow-colored balloons, cartoon smiley faces and other cheery designs.
Read more, see plenty of photographs at the Naples Daily News.
Immokalee was a happenin' place this over the weekend of April 13-14!
The 2013 Harvest Festival began Friday and carried over to Saturday and included live bands, games, home-town entertainment a wild hog BBQ and much more. ,
The annual Harvest Festival is a production of the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce and celebrates the agricultural heritage of the community.
Proceeds from the event went directly toward scholarships each year for two deserving Immokalee High School seniors to further their education.
Collier County Commissioner Tim Nance, who represents Immokalee and Eastern Collier County on the county lawmaking panel, says he believes the Immokalee Airport could be a center of commerce and profit and will propose ideas for the future.
Special from the Naples Daily News:
Commissioner Tim Nance has an idea to make the Immokalee Airport more profitable: It should grow its business opportunities, using hundreds of acres available for commercial and industrial development.
“Everyone agrees that the Immokalee Airport has a great deal of potential. I think people thought the development of the airport and the public aviation business out there was going to be the economic generator that would lead to the development of the area. I think that is backward,” he said.
Nance will propose today a review of the county’s options for “maximizing the performance and the economic development potential of the Collier County Airport Authority business unit, focusing on real estate assets,” especially at the Immokalee Airport.
Nance would like the board, acting as the airport authority, to direct staff to improve management at and development of the real estate assets associated with the airports and consider the options of, among other things, hiring a professional real estate consultant, creating a long-term lease of the real estate in a public-developer partnership, full privatization or the sale of the airports; or any combination of those options.
Read more at the Naples Daily News.
UPDATE, 4-10: Commissioner Nance's initiattive failed to win a majority at the county lawmaking panel, garnering two votes to support it, two votes to oppose it. Commissioner Fred Coyle was absent and did not vote. Three votes were needed to pass the measure.
Some of the most heavily traveled streets in South Immokalee have a new, safer and smoother surface.
The Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) began last week repaving the road surfaces along Boston, Colorado and Delaware avenues, including refurbishing over two dozen intersections, along with new pavement markings and incidental improvements.
This effort is part of the overarching $3.5 million drainage improvement project within the 40-acre downtown project area.
"Reconditioning these heavily traveled roadways will ensure that the citizens who live and work in this area will have an adequate local transportation network for years to come," said Bradley Muckel, interim director of the Immokalee CRA. "This effort will also assist the public transportation system in providing continued service to the citizens in this densely populated area of Collier County."
Immokalee business owners have the opportunity in April and May to take advantage of two workshops focused on getting government contracts and how to achive certification in Immokalee's HUBZone.
The workshops are being organized by the Immokalee Business Development Center (IMMBIZ) and will feature the U.S. Small Business Administration.
UPDATE: Because of the federal budget sequestrations, these workshops have been cancelled. They will be rescheduled in the near future.
HUBZone Certification Workshop.
Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
This workshop is designed to help small firms in certain communities gain access to federal contract opportunities.
Government Contracting Workshop– State and Federal.
Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
SBA plays an important role in Government Contracting. The U.S. government is the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, awarding approximately $500 billion in contracts every year. This is your
opportunity to come learn how to win some of these government contracts.
The Immokalee Business Development Center (IBDC) is a learning laboratory for entrepreneurial enterprises.
It facilitates the growth and development of businesses in the community. The IBDC is a no-cost program that provides existing and emerging businesses with technical assistance and an array of business resources. Forget what you know about business development centers, sometimes called business incubators. IBDC is nothing like traditional incubators. It is not static, confined to a warehouse or necessarily restricted to any one place or time. In fact, IBDC, will soon become known as the incubator without walls. The staff provides personalized services both onsite (at the business location) and offsite (the IBDC office).