|Published:||Jun 11, 2010 3:39 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 11, 2010 12:39 AM EDT|
GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla. - Thursday is the last day of school for students in Collier County, and kids in the Golden Gate Estates area say they have no where to play.
Thursday night, parents in the estates met to try and get money earmarked for a different park to be used for a park in there.
"Basketball, baseball but it's all in our house, either the driveway or backyard," thirteen-year-old Daniel Kniola says. He and his brothers have been stuck playing in their yard.
"We usually don't get to play that much in our backyard because it's not as big as a real park," brother Nicholas tells me.
Their mom, Annette Kniola, says the boys are left with only streets to ride their bikes, which she's said no to. "The traffic out here, especially on the side roads, is dangerous because there are no sidewalks."
It's their hope the estates will get another park soon. Currently, for the entire estates area the only park available is Max Hasse Park on Golden Gate Boulevard West.
Kniola says that's too far for many parents, "That's nine miles for us. For some kids where the school is out there, it's almost 18 to 20 miles."
Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta agrees. "We're talking about an area the size of Washington, D.C. that has nothing to offer it's growing population."
Coletta has joined parents and their children to discuss plans for a $10 million park behind the fairgrounds, but there's a few snags.
$1.9 million was earmarked to build Manatee Park in East Naples, which is now on the back burner. Instead, that money is now going to be used on improving and already existing park, Eagle Lakes Park. Neither is near the estates.
Ultimately, if the money isn't used in the estates, or the estates park isn't moved up on the to-do list, those residents will not get a new park for many years to come.
"Where we are in Golden Gate Estates, instead of your children going here it'll be your grandchildren, possibly you're great grandchildren," Coletta says of the wait.
County commissioners will be discussing the money and how to spend it at their June 22nd meeting.