Guest Blogger: Dave Feightner, Owner at Spectrum Concierge
Building, Managing and Maintaining Paradise
Collier county… the place we call home and the place we love so much. The beaches, the restaurants, the weather… a clean community, a safe community, a positive environment where people of all different interests and ways of life can thrive. We want to enjoy it, and we want our friends, family and future generations to enjoy it as well. But therein lies the challenge… everyone wants a piece. What is our capacity? How do we balance growth and quality of life? Developers want their piece, environmentalists want theirs, and nobody wants to be “Miami West”. So what are our options? Do we shut down the growth? Build a bubble? Close the exit ramps? No, we can’t do that… growth is a natural progression, and for the benefit of all if… and let me capitalize IF, we can manage it, and plan for it responsibly. Easier said than done.
In our recent Leadership Collier Foundation Luncheon, we were privileged to hear Amy Patterson, Acting Collier County Manager, discuss many of the ramifications and impacts of growth here in Collier County, and how we are planning to handle the influx of people scurrying to our Paradise. Running a busy community such as the one we live in, with the standards and expectations of the residents that we have, is no small undertaking. Now add growth… and lots of it. The list of “areas of concern” (stuff that needs to be considered in the effort to manage our community and gracefully accommodate growth) is seemingly endless, but its not even a list… its really more like a matrix of various components that all intersect in some way shape or form with each other. Stormwater control, public utilities, traffic and roadways, keeping our community clean, parks and recreation, maintaining the environment, enhancing underserved areas (redevelopment), ensuring a strong Public Safety foundation, emergency services, and many others comprise this matrix… and at the center of it is our County Manager, Amy Patterson. With a 2.2 billion dollar budget to oversee, a Board of County Commissioners to “keep an eye on”, and a community comprised of widely varying interests, Amy has her hands full. Fortunately, as she eloquently laid out in the luncheon, she, and many of the communities bright and experienced experts, have their eyes on the big stuff.
Stormwater for example is a dramatically under-credited issue that has massive implications, from the ability to keep our roads passable to the health of our waterways, gulf and beaches… this aspect of our community requires attention (and money), and is high on the Collier County Growth Management team’s radar. Another issue which we take for granted most of the time, but curse the ground under our feet when it goes against us, is traffic. Our community’s roadways, while they will be congested in our peak periods, generally flow fluidly throughout the year, and that is due to the diligent planning of our predecessors, and is continually being assessed to ensure that our traffic patterns and equipment are built and working as efficiently as they can be for generations ahead. The list of these areas that are continually and dutifully assessed, gauged, and tweaked behind the scenes by our local government team, for the benefit of our experience, is nearly endless… but I must say, listening to Amy explain the various infrastructure projects, and answer the challenging questions posed, with professionalism, knowledge, and a sense of care and precision, was a breath of fresh air.
As a local business owner and operator, and parent of a couple young ones who are going to grow up in this community, I am vested in the wellbeing of our area. I also know that the future success of any organization or endeavor often hinges on effectively navigating and accomplishing the most important projects and topics… the small stuff will always swirl around. So while Collier County is undoubtedly growing, and the wave of people migrating here from around the country is not likely to recede, the future appears, from my perspective, to be in good hands, knowing that the “big stuff” has the eyes and attention of our leaders, specifically Amy Patterson, our newly Acting County Manager.