Bayshore Drive recognized with the 2022 Great Places in Florida Award

The year 2022 has been significant for this Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Redevelopment Area in many ways. The pace of private development and redevelopment activity continues to tick upward. Construction of the Courthouse Shadows complex, including 300 apartments, is entering final stages, and construction has kicked off for the mixed-use catalyst project Metropolitan Naples at the intersection of Davis Boulevard and US 41. The CRA office completed the opening of a public parking lot with 37 parking spaces, 2 rideshare pull-offs, and low impact stormwater design, plus space for one electric car charging station. The CRA office also launched preliminary planning and permitting activities for the first phase of a boardwalk connecting CRA owned property along Bayshore Drive to Sugden Park, and initial steps are underway to launch a Master Plan for the Gateway Triangle Area.

The area’s redevelopment accomplishments have captured attention outside Southwest Florida. In November 2022, Bayshore Drive was named Winner of the Florida American Planning Association’s 2022 Great Place in Florida Award. Other finalists included places from Deltona, St. Petersburg, and Tallahassee. The CRA joins an elite list of notable locations to have received this award since 2014: Mount Dora, Downtown Fernandina Beach, Cascades Park in Tallahassee, Downtown Pensacola, Downtown Winter Garden, Downtown Winter Haven, Historic Downtown Stuart, and Mill Lake Park Continuum in Orange City. This is the ninth year for this award. This year’s theme was Great Healthy Places. With attributes like Naples Botanical Garden, the gateway roundabout where Bayshore intersects Thomasson Drive at Del’s Corner, green colored bike lanes, a waterfront gathering place at Celebration Food Truck Park, and local artist installations, the corridor stands apart as a complete street and community asset, setting the standard for other jurisdictions looking to bring health, well-being and vibrancy through redevelopment.

Our planning team has provided planning and zoning services to the CRA office by assisting with monitoring development activity, advising the CRA on development inquiries, and by completing Growth Management Plan amendments and Land Development Code amendments that help implement the adopted CRA Redevelopment Plan. The amendments went into effect in April 2022 changing governing policies and regulations to align with three priorities identified in the Redevelopment Plan: appearance standards for outdoor sales, display, and storage; architectural standards for single family homes; and creation of public realm improvement requirements for the density bonus program along with a limited bonus density pool allocation process for properties of two contiguous acres or smaller. These new standards will help the CRA continue its trajectory with quality infill and redevelopment projects that contribute to the character of the area.

The impacts of Hurricane Ian’s landfall in Southwest Florida on September 28, 2022, was felt intensely in the Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Area. The area’s older infrastructure and buildings were inundated with storm surge that compromised homes and businesses. In the days and weeks following the storm, the resilience of the people who live and do business in this area was steadfast. Through the community spirit and the lessons learned from this storm, the Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Area will continue robust engagement and planning efforts to continue making strides toward redevelopment programs and projects that are recognized as models for success.

For more information, contact Chrissy Fisher, AICP at [email protected].