LCF Alumni Association Leadership Lunch Series Topic: Collier County Strategic Plan Overview, Attendee Feedback by, Christina Aguilera
Amy Patterson joined the Leadership Collier Foundation Alumni Association to discuss and review the Collier County strategic plan. Collier County is celebrating its centennial this year, and while many of Collier County’s objectives remain the same 100 years later, the strategic plan is updated as needed to reflect new areas of focus and change important to its residents. Most recently updated in ’11, ’14, and ’17, the plan for the county has expanded over the years alongside its growing population. In 2023, the strategic plan concentrates on similar key focus areas and objectives as before but with a heavier emphasis on incorporating it into everyday business, values, vision, and mission. The initiative “Collier Leads” points a spotlight onto leadership, ethics, accountability, dedication, and service within Collier County. The vision for Naples to be “the best community in America to live, work, and play” applies to every resident and member of our community. The county’s commitment to this statement will continue to be the driving force behind new projects, development, and services.
Amy addressed the population growth in Collier County as it continues to expand and outpace the growth of housing development. The county’s need for infrastructure and review of asset management is critical for the next 10-15 years of growth, as our community population boomed during COVID and is still growing at an increased rate. Considering these factors, the purpose for revising the plan is to carve a clear path for how to best respond to the expansion while staying true to Naples’ core values and charm. By having the plan in place, it paves the way for responsible governance and development in the future.
While Amy reviewed the strategic projects currently ongoing, different members in attendance were able to ask questions about specific areas of the plan and projects in more detail. Such topics included the Golden Gate golf course conversion project into affordable housing and the speed bumps encountered (i.e. pests, issues with water flow between the estates area and connection to the gulf), the septic to sewer conversion, a new 800 mHz radio tower upgrade for first responders, potential mileage rate adjustments, and the new central receiving center for mental health patients. While the zoning changes passed for the new center, it is still an uphill battle to fund the estimated $44M building – a drastic increase compared to its initial $25M estimate. The increase also doesn’t include an additional $4M required to outfit the center with furniture and equipment or the estimated $4M in annual operating costs. While remaining transparent with the increased budget, it was further emphasized to attendees that Collier County remains committed to the project and solutions in order to provide this care to its residents.
If there was one message Amy wanted to implore at the end of her discussion, it was that Collier County remains committed to honoring the past history of Naples, continued improvement of lives for residents in Collier County, and a thoughtful approach to future development and growth.