Immokalee’s Farmer’s Market to be Rebuilt – FINALLY!

After four years of waiting the Immokalee Farmers Market should be back in business within three or four months.

The State of Florida finally persuaded the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for the reconstruction of three buildings and the repair of an additional building damaged by Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.

The state-owned Farmer’s Market, a vital and essential element of Immokalee’s economy, has been idle since Wilma struck pending disagreements and appeals of FEMA’s initial denial of reconstruction money.
“This is among the best news Immokalee has received in quite a while,” said Penny Phillippi, executive director of the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). “The state tells us we can see hammers swinging on the reconstruction within two or three months.”

The 60-year-old state owned market has seen as many as 30 individual farmers and growers selling fruit and vegetables in the high winter growing season. The fields and groves surrounding Immokalee provide the vast majority of winter crops grown in the United States. The estimated loss of revenue over the four years hovers around $1.5 million to the Immokalee community.

In a Sept. 24 letter to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, FEMA Regional Administrator Major P. May said buildings Immokalee Farmers Market buildings 5, 7 and 9 will be replaced and building 10 will be repaired.

“Agriculture remains – and will remain – an important part of Immokalee’s economic engine,” Phillippi said. “We’re grateful FEMA finally understood the importance of the state Farmers Market and agreed to rebuild and repair its damaged buildings. This is a great day!”

In addition to agriculture, Immokalee is poised to become one of Florida’s finest communities offering as well traditional Florida tourism and eco-tourism, gaming and entertainment, international commerce and real estate all wrapped up into one of Florida’s most culturally diverse community. Immokalee, in short, is Florida in the 21st Century.

The Immokalee CRA has redesigned the community’s central business district to incorporate attractive buildings, plazas and parks and will soon attract patrons as a friendly, exciting environment with an international flavor and environmentally-sustainable business core.

For more information, contact Penny Phillippi at (239) 252-2310. Facebook users can join the Immokalee page and receive regular updates:



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