|Published:||Sep 11, 2012 10:24 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 11, 2012 11:26 PM EDT|
IMMOKALEE, Fla - A plan to revitalize Immokalee through economic development is delayed, again. After four hours of debate, Collier County Commissioner couldn't come to a decision on how to jump start Immokalee's economy.
The fight over the Immokalee Master Plan has spanned nearly a decade, but more dozens of people who live in Immokalee tell WINK News they have never heard of the plan.
Bobby Joe Hudson is one of those people. He has lived and worked in Immokalee his entire life. He says a community that once thrived on its agricultural background is now desperate for jobs.
"There's not as much farming right now. They've stopped a lot of work. My dad used to do that for work. That was the big thing around here because we had the big farmers market and now there are not as many farms here, so not as many people will come here to work," says Hudson.
For nearly a decade, county leaders have discussed how to use the areas diversity to attract new businesses, visitors and jobs. One ideas to do that is to give Main Street a Latin flavor with public plazas, outdoor cafe's and shops.
"I think more companies and a plaza would attract more visitors," says Salvador Flores, an Immokalee resident. "This town needs a lot more job opportunities. It needs to expand a lot more."
Other ideas include creating new agriculture related businesses and a new farmers market to serve the demand for fresh produce. "The farmers are the backbone of Immokalee," says David, a business owner in Immokalee. "That's a real good idea. That's been something that's real powerful for the town. It would create more jobs if they focus on the farming and the market."
David says getting the community to jump on board with something county leaders can't even agree on will take more time. "All the meetings have been in Naples, not here. The meetings should be done here in Immokalee. There will be different results, different outcomes."
In order for the Master Plan to move forwars, four out of five commissioners need to approve it. In two weeks, county leaders will have one final chance to approve the plan before the state imposed deadline of September 27.
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