|Published:||Sep 12, 2012 5:26 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 12, 2012 6:54 PM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla.- A group in Collier County wants to add dozens of artificial reefs to the Gulf Coast, to attract more tourists to the area.
County commissioners agreed to help apply for grant money that will get the project going.
A local attorney working with the Collier Economic Recovery Task Force is applying for a $500,000 grant through a fund that BP established to promote tourism in areas along the gulf that were affected by the oil spill.
The proposed 36 reefs would be about 10 to 20 miles off shore.
Local scuba shop owner Kevin Sweeney says having the reefs that far off shore should help with visibility in the gulf.
He says that's one of the main problems with the current artificial reefs in Collier County.
Sweeney owns ScubAdventures in Naples.
He says he doesn't think adding more reefs will make this area a diving destination, but he supports any effort to bring more people and tourism dollars to the area.
He adds, "it's gonna be great for the fishing industry and the boating industry. Diving is going to be very seasonal. But it's going to help, everything is going to help. It's just a matter of does it increase the diving business year round? No, unfortunately it won't."
The project will all be funded through grants and private donations to the tune of about $5 million and will not require any tax payer dollars.
The group organizing the effort says the new reefs could bring in 20 to 35 million dollars in tourism revenue. They also hope to get Naples and Marco Island to apply for the grant funds. The deadline to apply for the grant is October 5.
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