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Collier County's Greenway & Shared Parking Project on Schedule!
Zoo/Greenway Entrance at Fleischmann Blvd Light Phase Begun
More Parking Spaces Already Open.


After decades of dreams, construction on Collier County's Gordon River Greenway is fully underway. You can see the construction along Golden Gate Parkway and south of the Zoo. The full Greenway was made possible with the land acquired as part of the 2004 referendum to "VOTE YES TO SAVE THE ZOO AND SO MUCH MORE." Along with the 44 acres of Zoo land, county residents gained over 70 acres east of the Zoo for public use. This current Zoo/Greenway entrance project is a cost-share between the County and the Zoo.

Even though the land was paid off years ago, benefits at Naples Zoo for Collier County residents continue. And to clear up a common misconception, the Zoo is not owned or operated by the County. We are a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) and rely on visitors and donors to carry out our conservation and education mission.

Engineering a Solution . . . and Adding a Second Pond
The need to modify the manmade pond and entrance for the Greenway, Conservancy, and Zoo arose because current codes did not allow for existing entries to be maintained. After many meetings completed in 2012, all the stakeholders in Collier County’s Gordon River Greenway Park agreed to the County engineers’ new plan that keeps the pond yet still meets the real world needs of public safety, transportation, fire, neighbors, water management, and other departments. That new plan both expanded the pond south -- and included the addition of a second pond along Goodlette-Frank Road.

Turning Plans into Reality
The first phase of construction along the south side of the Zoo creates the County’s Greenway parking, addresses the Zoo’s parking issues with expanded shared parking, and adds a public kayak launch to the river. This has already nearly doubled the available places to park, greatly reducing the amount of guests who park elsewhere and walk across six lanes of traffic. 

Filling In the Pond? For a Time . . .

The second phase of the County’s project will connect the Fleischmann Blvd traffic light access with the new Zoo and Greenway parking and Conservancy entry road. This is the phase when the contractor will fill in the pond and began on time in mid-February. After spending days in the muck of the pond, Zoo staff have already transferred the fish and turtles into zoo lakes. The koi are being cared for in two new specially created pools so they can be returned to the ponds. During this time a liner is being installed on the bottom of the 1950s era manmade pond to decrease the amount of water that has been regularly pumped into the pond to keep it from drying up.

Trees on the Move
While the Zoo was able to pay to re-engineer the entry road to keep the giant ficus tree south of the pond, some smaller trees have been transplanted from their current locations to nearby spots incuding some that will be on the banks of the new second pond.

Worth the Waiting
So we will all miss the pond for a little while. Like any renovation, the process might resemble an ugly duckling in the winter, but we all greatly look forward to the coming beautiful swan with a new safer entry and two beautiful ponds along the road when the project is expected to be complete by early autumn.

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FAQ

What is the Greenway?
When complete, the Gordon River Greenway will stretch two miles from Golden Gate Parkway toward the heart of Naples. This public pathway is designed to accommodate walkers, hikers, photographers, and artists as well as joggers, cyclists, in-line skaters, and skateboarders. Paths are wide enough for parents pushing baby carriages, people walking dogs, as well as individuals in wheelchairs. With the launch area, paddlers in canoes and kayaks will have access to a new landscape to explore.

The Gordon River Greenway was highlighted in the 2004 election to "VOTE YES TO SAVE THE ZOO AND SO MUCH MORE." Along with saving the land under the Zoo, the vote saved about 70 acres to the east of the Zoo. But the idea for the Gordon River Greenway began back in 1987 during a visit by the American Institute of Architects’ Regional Urban Design Assistance Team.  The first section opened in 1992 and consists of a 1-½ mile paved loop trail adjacent to the Naples Municipal Airport.

Who is involved in the Greenway?
The Greenway project is part of a cooperative project of government, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and citizens.  Partners include the State of Florida, Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways and Trails; City of Naples; Collier County Department of Parks and Recreation; Conservation Collier; Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens; Naples Municipal Airport; Naples Pathways Coalition; Rails to Trails Conservancy, Florida Field Office; Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Southwest Florida Land Preservation Trust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Naples Zoo at  Caribbean Gardens     1590 Goodlette-Frank Road     Naples Florida 34102
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