COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - After nearly a decade, plans for an ATV park in Collier County are back on track. After a series ATV accidents, the community is once again saying they need a safe place to ride.
The biggest hurdle in getting an ATV park up and running is finding land. Over the years, the county has looked at dozens of properties in rural Collier County each time running into a dead end.
Now the task of finding the right spot and getting the project back on track is in the hands of a five member advisory committee.
In March of 2011, a five year old Golden Gate Estates boy was critically injured when he was hit by an ATV. In April of 2012, two teenage boys were injured when a car hit them while they were riding an ATV in the street. In May an 11 year old girl was killed while riding her ATV in Naples.
"I think if people have a place to go and enjoy a safe environment, I think they'll go, rather than to ride on the side of the roads where these accidents happen with cars," says Joseph Pelletier, chairman of the ATV Park Ad Hoc Advisory Committee.
After running into several dead ends, Collier County leaders decided if the park was going to happen, citizens had to get involved. "with their knowledge I think at the end of the day, if we're successful it will be because of them," says Nick Casalanguida, Collier County Growth Management Division Administrator.
Wednesday night, a five member advisory committee of avid ATV riders gathered for their first meeting. Vice chairman Felix Garcia says, "all the people on the committee are like minded and we will definitely move forward with this."
The ATV park is still months if not years away from becoming a reality, but this committee hopes it will keep the wheels on this project moving forward. "Now that the other residents, other ATV riders of Collier County see this happening and we are moving forward that they will get on board," says Garcia.
Wednesday County leaders went through and discussed 25 rural properties where they've reached out to the owners to see if they would be interested in having an ATV park on their land. Most of the land they're interested in is either farming land or owners are unwilling to sell.
The committee will narrow down the list of potential properties before its next meeting in September.