IMAP: How a Vision Becomes Reality?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has." —  Margaret Mead

The Collier County Board of County Commissioners chartered the Immokalee Area Master Plan and Visioning Committee to work with the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency to prepare an Area Master Plan that recognizes the unique characteristics of the Immokalee region and will supplement the Collier County Growth Management Plan. The plan has been forwarded to Collier County’s Planning Department for review. A six part series describing the Immokalee Area Master Plan was published, and links to each of the articles are included below.

The new Immokalee Area Master Plan currently awaits the approval of the Collier County Planning Department. The goal of the Master Plan is to encourage growth that will result in economic diversity and prosperity for Immokalee. The plan sets the stage for funding allocations and grant applications, incentives for business and housing development, the requirements for the community’s infrastructure as we grow – transportation, schools, utilities, and design standards. Most important, it articulates our vision for Immokalee’s future.

In developing the Immokalee master plan, we build on the strengths of our community – a young workforce; a rich Latin, Caribbean and Florida Cracker heritage; a significant agricultural industry; a central location and available land for large-scale development, economic incentives conducive to international trade; a Seminole Casino, and an ecological habitat attractive to the rapidly growing ecotourism sector.
How will Immokalee look in the future? Our vision Definitely bigger. Currently Immokalee has about 30,000 permanent residents and grows by half again to almost 45,000 during the peak agricultural season. About two thirds of the population is of Hispanic origin. At “build out,” a planning concept used to estimate the maximum population an area could support, the population could reach 168,398 someday. Based on the current growth rate, by 2020 Immokalee will grow to 48,000 permanent residents and 65,000 peak season using the methodology employed by all County agencies. What we plan today must serve our community over the next decade and establish the foundation for expansion toward build-out.

Our collective vision for Immokalee is that of a young, energetic, town with a diversity of new job opportunities in agri-businesses, international trade and distribution, ecotourism, recreation and entertainment, and, hand-in-hand with business growth, in the construction industry when it rebounds.

It’s a vision of a attractive, sustainable community with affordable workforce housing, parks, and good schools for the children of the families moving into town; where people walk and bicycle to do their errands, and where parents are returning to school to finish their education and master new job skills. Main Street has a Latin flavor – colorful plazas, outdoor cafes, shops and entertainment — that attracts both local residents and the many tourists drawn to Immokalee for the Seminole Casino and the unique ecology of Lake Trafford and the Corkscrew Swamp. This is a vision that builds on Immokalee’s strengths.

How does that vision become reality? The master plan sets the stage. Just like in a jazz band, each of the players — the government agencies, businesses and business associations, educational institutions and nonprofits – plays a different part, usually in harmony, sometimes improvising, and with opportunities to shine as a soloist. 
This series of articles will describe the details of the vision and the part each of the players has in making it reality.
Click here to view and/or download a .pdf of the above article in Spanish.

 

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