Yesterday the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to remove our Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park, Collier County Fairgrounds, and the Orange Tree Utilities properties from the list of potential sites for a proposed Soccer Complex. Homeowners associations, sports organizations, and civic organizations have been vocal, commenting to staff, and writing letters. And they came and voiced their concerns at the 02-10-15 BCC Meeting. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this community victory and to the County Commissioners!
Board of County Commissioners removes Estates area sites from Soccer Complex consideration
The Southwest Florida Soccer Foundation is seeking to locate a Soccer Complex project in Collier County. What has come to be known as the “Butzke proposal”, a private group led by Jeff Butzke is seeking a donation of 60 acres of County-owned and/or private land to become home for a sports complex. With the promise of building eight soccer fields, a 147,000 sf indoor facility, and a 7,000 seat soccer stadium, the Butzke group approached the County Commission who then directed staff to investigate and evaluate all County-owned properties and report back their findings. Staff has been reviewing approximately 27 potential sites for more than a year. Their report was heard at the 02-10-15 Board of County Commission meeting.
Area community groups have come out against the Soccer Complex proposal being located at the Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park site, citing incompatibility with neighboring residential developments, desire for park amenities consistent with the desires of the community, and promoting other higher priority sites that would result in better success for the Soccer Complex endeavor – closer in proximity to I-75 and major transportation routes, hotels, restaurants and commercial - and better locations with minimal impact to neighboring developments. Most people were, however, in support of a Soccer Complex in Collier County, but at a better location/site - not at the Big Corkscrew Regional Park site.
Homeowners associations, sports organizations, and civic organizations have been vocal, commenting to staff, and writing letters. And they came and voiced their concerns at the 02-10-15 BCC Meeting. Waterways of Naples HOA, Valencia Lakes HOA, Valencia Golf & Country Club HOA, Corkscrew Island Civic Assn, Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Assn, Homeowners Association of Golden Gate Estates, Immokalee Area Civic Association, Naples Bears Pop Warner Football, Golden Gate Little League, Immokalee Little League, Cal Ripken Baseball League, Council of Hispanic Business Professionals, Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, and many Estates, Corkscrew, Orangetree and Immokalee residents all provided input and perspective over the last six months, culminating at 02-10-15 BCC Meeting.
Because of this community outpouring, Commissioner Nance made a motion on the item that the Estates Area sites - Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park parcels, the 47 Acre Land Trust Parcel, the Collier County Fairgrounds and the future Northeast Utility site - all be removed from consideration for the Soccer Complex. He suggested that staff seek more insight to other sites and included a recommendation to investigate opportunities with the Tourist Development Council where other opportunities and funding might be discovered in the approach of a Sports Tourism effort. The motion passed unanimously. As such, the Estates area sites are removed from consideration for the Southwest Florida Soccer Foundation Soccer Complex.
The Southwest Florida Soccer Complex Proposal process has been contentious from the beginning. GGEACA has been holding community meetings itself, gathering insights and input from the greater community, separating the Soccer Complex project effort from the Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park planning effort, and seeking community consensus for the park amenities desired for the future Regional park. The Southwest Florida Soccer Foundation Soccer Complex project deserves a better venue and a better opportunity for success. A sports complex of the scale being proposed needs to be located in close proximity to Interstate I-75, hotels, restaurants, commercial and industrial facilities and infrastructure that will not bring detrimental impacts to residential neighborhoods abutting such a facility. It needs to be compatible with its surrounding neighborhood, and not restricted to its operation, day or night,