Show/Hide

 Debris Collection Hotline (239) 252-8444. FEMA Disaster Recovery Center open in

Collier County

Immokalee Area CRA

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

The Collier County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is currently focusing its redevelopment efforts on the area of Immokalee - designated by the Collier County Board of County Commissioners as a redevelopment area under the authority of Florida Statutes Chapter 163, Part III, Community Redevelopment Act.

Chapter 163, Part II of the Florida Statutes provides Collier County with the means to achieve growth management objectives by redirecting growth to areas where urban services are provided, or if the services exist but are inadequate, the means to improve the services, thereby revitalizing the once viable neighborhood or business district and encouraging the provision of affordable quality housing within the urban center.

The Collier County Comprehensive Plan provides the rationale for the establishment of this redevelopment area in Collier County.

For the past several years, staff from the Comprehensive Planning Department has been working with the CRA and the Immokalee community. This community is very different in character but similar in their need to bring in more investment and to improve the public perception of the area.

Although this community was established as a redevelopment area using the same criteria, this community has it's own set of goals, objectives and vision for the future. Public meetings, workshop and hearings are ongoing to continue to involve the residents, business owners and property owners. The Advisory board is composed of citizens, residents, property owners and business owners or persons engaged in business in the area has been created and appointments made by the CRA for this redevelopment area. The role of the advisory board will be to make recommendations to the CRA on project priorities and budgetary issues.

Immokalee Overlay District 

Note: to view the Bayshore/Gateway Triangle CRA, click here.

Immokalee Redevelopment Area 

CRA Update Report

The Immokalee Redevelopment Area Plan has been formulated in close cooperation with the citizens of Immoaklee and is based on the objectives identified by community members in a series of public workshops. This area plan is a guide for the physical and economic revitalization and enhancement of the Immokalee Community. The plan enhances the existing Main Street project, the federal Enterprise Community designation, the Regional Airport Industrial Park and Lake Trafford which all serve as catalysts for revitalizing the community and improving the housing stock. Excerpts of the Plan follows.

Located in northeastern Collier County, the Immokalee Community is located approximately 45 miles from the County seat of Naples. This rural un-incorporated area is primarily agricultural. There is one major roadway - Immokalee Road (CR 846) - into the community from Naples. State Road 29 provides access into the Community from the northern counties of Lee and Hendry. Although there are approximately 16,764 acres of land within the redevelopment area, 60% is currently in agricultural use. The remaining land is a mixture of residential, commercial and industrial uses.

The estimated 1998 permanent population of Immokalee is 17, 806. However, the population nearly doubles during the winter months due to the agricultural industry. This increase occurs when the harvest season for vegetables and citrus is at its peak. The 1998 projected peak season population for Immokalee is 32,929. The Immokalee population is considerably different from Collier County as a whole. The 1990 median age in Immokalee is estimated at 21 while the Collier County median age is estimated 41. In 1990, 65% of Immokalee's population was of Hispanic origin, which may be of any race, in comparison to 8% of the remainder of Collier County's population being of Hispanic origin. The 1990 Household Median Income in Immokalee was $15,170 in comparison to Collier County's median household income of $34,001. According to the 1990 U.S. Census 45% of the population was below poverty level.

Immokalee has long been considered isolated from the coastal county both in location and demographics. Immokalee's development is based on its agriculture resources, which made Immokalee the leading producer of winter vegetables in the United States. However, as the economics of agriculture changed, the social problems associated with low wages, an unskilled labor force, and a transient multicultural population grew. One of the results has been a lack of reinvestment into the area.

The economy of rural Southwest Florida has been and continues to be based primarily on agriculture, which has not kept pace with job growth throughout the state of Florida. Rural Florida continues to have lower earned income, higher unemployment, lower property values and fewer opportunities for employment. Regionally, the major economic contributors are retirement, tourism, construction, agriculture and the environment. Although tourism has a major impact on the regional urban economy, the Immokalee Community has yet to reap the benefits from this industry.

Immokalee Awards

The Immokalee Community was designated as a Federal Champion Community in 1994, a Florida Main Street area in 1996, and a Federal Enterprise Community in 1999. During the application process for the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community grant, a series of community meetings were held with several hundred community residents attending. Based on the community input and the consensus reached at these meetings, a Strategic Plan was written. The Plan identifies four areas of concern:

  • Accessibility and appropriateness of education and training;
  • Diversification of the economic base and availability of higher wage jobs;
  • The availability of decent and affordable housing; and
  • Community image and pride

The Immokalee Redevelopment Area Plan incorporates the goals and strategies identified in the Enterprise Strategic Plan as the basis for the redevelopment plan.

Conditions of Blight

In order to designate the Immoklaee area as a redevelopment area, a finding of "blight" had to be made by the Collier County Board of County Commissioners. This finding was made on March 14, 2000 and ratified by Resolution 2000-82. The following describe the conditions in Immokalee at the time that the finding of blight was made:

1. Predominance of defective or inadequate street layout:

The Immokalee Redevelopment Area is characterized by a defective or inadequate street layout. Most Immokalee residents walk or bicycle to work, school and shopping. Few adequate bicycle and pedestrian facilities are available throughout the Immokalee study area.

Problems include:

  • Inadequate street layout and design;
  • Lack of shoulders and guardrails along streets adjacent to deep and wide drainage swales;
  • Poor access to commercial and industrial parking and access problems;
  • Few sidewalks available for a predominately pedestrian population; and
  • A general lack of neighborhood inter connectivity.

The major arterial roadways are State Road 29, Immokalee Road and New Market Road (SR 29A). State Road 29 is a two-lane facility that widens to four lanes through the small downtown area. The four-lane segment is called Main Street and is the focus of redevelopment and economic revitalization. It is the only segment with on-street parking and sidewalks on both sides. The two lane segments of State Road 29 north and east of Main Street are two lanes with no sidewalks.

New Market Road is a two-lane facility with 100 feet of right-of-way and no sidewalks, paved shoulders, or turn lanes. The remaining right-of-way and truck parking is limestone. Vegetable and fruit packinghouses and the State Farmers Market are located along this street. Trucks are encouraged to use this street as a bypass road to avoid the downtown area and to pick up goods for transport. The roadway is in poor condition and maintenance costs are high due to damage by trucks dragging limestone on roadway. Although many people walk or bicycle to work in this area, pathway facilities are unavailable.

Immokalee Road intersects with SR 29 at the beginning of Main Street. North Main Street, it narrows to two lanes and has a sidewalk on the west side only.

Major problems exist along many of the local roads. There are few sidewalks. Typical local street widths are less than twenty feed required in the Collier County Land Development Code and open storm water systems are adjacent to roadways without paved shoulders or guardrails. For example, south of State Road 29, along 9th Street, there are deep, wide drainage ditches on both sides of the roadway. There are no sidewalks and no guardrails to safeguard pedestrians and motorists. The roadway width is eighteen feet and there are not enough rights of way to construct pathway facilities without converting the open swales to a covered storm water system.

In addition, many residential neighborhoods are not linked to none another and most of the commercial areas are not linked to one another.

The Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park lack adequate water and sewer service and storm water management facilities to sufficiently handle the projected future development. County Road 846 that leads to Airpark Blvd. is a two-lane facility with narrow lanes and no paved shoulders. This facility does not adequately address the projected increase in truck traffic due to the future development of the airport and industrial park.

2. Faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness:

The majority of commercial lots are zoned General Commercial District (C-4) or Heavy Commercial District (C-5). In the C-4 and C-5 zoning district, a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet, with a width of 100 feet for commercial development is required. Many of the commercial lots in these zoning districts do not meet the minimum width required for commercial development. Some do not meet either of the lot width or lot square footage requirements. Existing buildings are frequently non-conforming with regards to required minimum lot width, size, setbacks, and buffers.

The Residential Multiple Family - 6 (RMF-6) zoning district has a minimum requirement of 6,500 square feet with a width of 60 feet for a single family development; 12,000 square feet with a width of 80 feet for a two-family development; and 5,500 square feet per unit with a width of 100 feet for a three or more family residential development. The majority of lots are non-conforming and rebuilding on these lots may require the owner to seek a variance from the development standards.

In the South Immokalee area over 50% of the platted lots are non-conforming. The majority of these lots are zoned C-4 or RMF-6. A majority of the mobile home parks in the Immokalee community were developed in the 1970's and do not meet the minimum standards and permitted densities. The Collier County Land Development Code requires a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet with a width of 60 feet for residential development in the Village Residential (VR) and Mobile Home (MH) zoning districts.

It is common in the Immokalee Community to have intensive commercial uses located adjacent to residential uses without adequate buffering between the uses.

3. Unsanitary or unsafe conditions:

According to 1990 Census Data, 1.2 percent of Immokalee area households lack complete plumbing for exclusive use. In the entire county, this figure is 0.2 percent.

In occupied housing units in Immokalee, according to the 1990 U.S. Census, 6.8 percent of the owner occupied units and 1.6 percent of the renter occupied units had more than 1.51 or more persons per room. This figure is .03 for the entire County reflecting a greater degree of overcrowding in the Immokalee area.

Based on the 1994 Immokalee Housing Study, there were a total of 4,957 housing units of those 1, 282 or 26% are in need of rehabilitation.

In the Immokalee study area, 19 unsafe buildings and 4 non-secure structures were identified from January 1998 to February 2000.

Sidewalks are almost entirely absent from the redevelopment area. There is a lack of street lighting in most of the residential neighborhoods. Wide and deep open swales are present in the South Immokalee neighborhoods. They accumulate stagnate water and trash.

The disposal of garbage in the Immokalee area is a problem. Lack of adequate dumpster's for the mobile home parks and commercial establishment's results in a serious litter problem.

The Immokalee Water and Sewer District covers approximately 27 square miles and most of the urban area of Immokalee. However, the geographic area served by the district is considerably smaller. Additional treatment plants and distribution lines will be needed to serve the entire community. The Immokalee Water and Sewer District is under a consent order from the Department of Environmental Protection due to insufficient handling of their effluent. The spray fields are inadequate. no new sewer hook-ups can be permitted unless the District can show a reduction of flow to the system.

There are a few separate collections systems that were permitted prior to the creation of the district. Those systems need to be upgraded and included within the district's authority. An example is the Baker Street area, which is on a separate collection system. There have been three reported failures since 1997 where raw sewage was deposited on the ground.

4. Deterioration of site or other improvements:

Surface water management problems are present within the entire Immokalee study area. These problems include localized flooding in neighborhoods in the northeast section of the study area. Many local roads within the study area are poorly drained and experience flooding, as well. Some of the roads are unpaved and poorly drained. In South Immokalee where a high concentration of rental units and pedestrian traffic occurs the typical open drainage ditch is 4 feet deep and 15 feet wide.

Other Issues:

Immokalee also has a critical shortage of affordable housing for residents of low or moderate income, particularly for the elderly.

A housing unit is considered affordable if the monthly payments do not exceed 35 percent of the monthly income for principal, interests, taxes, and insurance. According to the 1994 Immokalee Housing Study 36 percent of the households with a mortgage and 40 percent of renter occupied households pay more than 35 percent of their income for housing. According to the study of those persons making less than $10,000, 72 percent pay more than 35 percent of their income to rent.

There were 5,166 units reported by the Bureau of the U.S. Census in 1990, only 18% were vacant. Within the total number of units occupied in Immokalee the average person per household rate for owner occupied units is 3.86 and the rate for renter occupied units is 3.57. The number of mobile homes/trailers reported by the 1990 Census is 1805. According to the Census the bulk of housing was constructed between 1970 and 1988. Seven percent of the existing housing stock was built prior to 1960.

The 1994 Immokalee Housing Study reported 1,282 housing units in need of rehabilitation or demolition. Sixty percent of the units in need of rehabilitation were mobile homes.

A large portion of the housing stock is used to house the migrant farm population. Overcrowding and deteriorated structures have been sited by the Florida Health Department that monitors migrant camps.

The dwelling units are primarily cinder block homes with some wood framed houses built by Habitat for Humanity. There are several multi-family apartment complexes.

The population growth, as well as high seasonal farm labor population, has produced a critical demand for housing according to the 1999 Empowerment Alliance of Southwest Florida Strategic Plan.

The median household income in 1990 according to the U.S. Census Bureau was $15,170. Forty-five percent of the population in Immokalee is below the poverty level

South Immokalee consists of older small commercial buildings. The Main Street Corridor has a few vacant structures, some of which are in need of rehabilitation or demolition. Newer commercial development has occurred along SR 29. This new development is primarily strip highway commercial. The Plan identifies developing specific standards for this corridor as part of the Immokalee Overlay District. New Market Road is a mixture of industrial packinghouse facilities and small older commercial building. This area is also scheduled to have an Overlay developed to meet the specific needs of this commerce enter.

Most of the County's agricultural production occurs in and around Immokalee. The largest employment sector is in agricultural. Individuals working on farms are substantially below those working in other jobs. In 1996, the five largest employers in Immokalee area are: Collier County Schools (1,089); Six-L's Packing (600); Seminole Indian Casino (306); Marion E. Fether Medical Clinic (170) and N.T. Gargiulo (98).

There is a large number of small retail establishments scattered throughout the community to serve the migrant population who are primarily pedestrians.

The Master Plan/Growth Management Plan

A detailed Master Plan for the Immokalee area has been developed and was incorporated into Collier County's Growth Management Plan in February 1991. The Master Plan addresses Natural Resources, Future Land Use, Public Facilities, Housing, Urban Design, Land Development Regulations and other considerations. The primary purpose of the Master Plan is coordination of land use and transportation planning, redevelopment or renewal of blighted areas and elimination of land uses inconsistent with the community's character.

The Immokalee Redevelopment Area mirrors the are included in the Immokalee area Master Plan. The Board of County Commissioners adopted the Immokalee Area Master Plan (IAMP) in 1991 as a separate element of the Growth Management Plan due to the unique character of Immokalee. A separate Future Land Use Map was also adopted for Immokalee and is presented in Figure 3. There are some inconsistencies with allowable residential density and land use exist where areas are platted years ago or mobile home parks were allowed to accommodate the large migrant population. There are several situations where residential is interspersed among commercial and industrial uses. The Planning Services Department is currently conducting an analysis of the mobile home parks and will be recommending amendments to the IAMP to accommodate existing mobile home parks that are not consistent with the IAMP.

Land Use Characteristics

South Immokalee

The South Immokalee area is approximately 300 acres with 77% of it developed. It is primarily a mixture of residential land uses containing 81% of the land area. There is a concentration of mobile homes located west of South 1st Street and East of South 9th Street. The remaining area is 17% commercial 1% industrial. The residential uses located west of South 1st Street are considered non-conforming uses. There is a small percentage of commercial development in the residentially zoned area. These uses are also considered non-conforming. The majority of lots within this area are non-conforming as well. Rebuilding on these properties may require the property owner to seek a variance from the development standards of the zoning district or to aggregate property to meet the regulations. The majority of buildings in this area were built in the 1970's. The highest concentration of criminal activity in the community takes place in this area. There are few streetlights and few internal sidewalks. Large open swales exist along the neighborhood streets. The Neighborhood Park located in this area provides minimal recreational opportunities.

Main Street Program Area

The Main Street area is anchored by the Seminole Indian Casino at the South end of town and the historic Roberts Ranch site on the west end of Main Street. The Main Street Boundaries include the land adjacent to CR 846 (First Street) and SR 29 (Main Street). It is primarily commercial property that has been under utilized. The main intersection (First and Main Street) has two prime commercial corners vacant. Older residential and mobile homes are found abutting commercial development with little or no buffering. The housing in this area is in serious need of rehabilitation. There are no sidewalks on the local streets north or south of Main Street and open drainage ditches are present. The Immokalee Beautification Committee has recently completed the streetscape along this corridor, which includes street lighting and street furniture. The Main Street program has been offering a Facade Grant program as an incentive for renovations to take place. To date five businesses have participated. Many of the buildings need more that just a facade improvement. There are several parking lots that are not up to code and result in creating dust and dirt along the corridor, which makes it more difficult to maintain the landscaping. Several buildings are vacant.

New Market Road

New Market Road is the east-west connector in the community. It serves as the main corridor for truck traffic coming to and from the agricultural packinghouses. Much of the existing right of way is used for truck parking and outdoor sells of vegetables during the harvest season. During the winter months this is the activity hub. The area is zoned commercial from Glades to Charlotte Street and residential from Glades to SR 29. The residential units along new market road are newer and built on larger lots than those in South Immokalee. Truck traffic through the residential area has a negative impact on maintaining the value of the area. There are few streetlights and sidewalks in the residential sections of the area.

Immokalee Drive

Immokalee Drive is a two-lane facility that runs west of SR 29 to 1st Street. There is a mixture of mobile home parks, single and multi-family structures. The Collier County sports complex and Immokalee High School and Middle School are located along this corridor. Several older mobile home parks that do not meet current standards are found along this corridor. There are few streetlights or sidewalks along the local streets that intersect Immokalee Drive.

SR 29 Corridor

This four-lane facility has been developed with highway commercial uses and is the main shopping area in the community. There is a mixture of new and old development along this corridor. The one grocery chain that exists in the community is located in an older strip shopping center at the corner of Lake Trafford and SR 29. Although a large number of residents do not have vehicles, sidewalks are not available on both sides of the street and may not be continuous.

Lake Trafford

The Lake Trafford area contains the largest fresh water lake in Florida south of Lake Okeechobee. The lake is an integral part of the regional drainage and wetland systems, and coastal estuarine systems. Economic and environmental enhancement of the lake necessitates the removal of an estimated 8.5 million cubic yards of organic sediment from the lake to restore the lake's depth and bottom configuration to its quartz sand bottom; and to reduce by as much as one half the nutrient enrichment to the lake. This nutrient enrichment results in proliferation of aquatic plant growth, periodic algae blooms, and fish kills. The lake restoration project should begin in 2000. The goal of the project is to improve, restore, and enhance the tourism attractiveness of Lake Trafford. Recreational fishing, bird watching, and photography can draw a significant number of visitors to the area. The Lake Trafford Marina currently operates the only small concession stand on the lake. The marina sells bait, rents small boats, and provides airboat tours of the lake. There is a County owned park, boat ramp and pier at the end of Lake Trafford. On the north side of the lake is a 2000-acre, privately held ranch. The ranch does limited cattle and oil production. There is an older recreational vehicle park next to the marina.

Airport and Industrial Park

The Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park consists of over 1,000 acres. There is a pre-approved master site development plan for the first phase of development consisting of approximately 44 acres. The Airport Authority offers many incentives to businesses to locate in the industrial park. It is designated as a Foreign Trade Zone, Florida Enterprise Zone and a Foreign Entrepreneurial Investment Zone. There is water and sewer available for Phase I. A 10,000 square foot manufacturing incubator was opened in 1998 and is completely leased out. It has been difficult to recruit a business to open in this location given the poor housing conditions and lack of amenities in the community. A drag strip has opened at one end of the airport and has been successful in drawing drivers and spectators.

Farm Workers Village

Farm Workers Village is located approximately 1.8 miles from the center of the community on SR 29. The Village is owned and operated by the Collier County Housing Authority. There are 576 units built and 35 units planned. The Village contains a small convenience store, day care and playground. The first phase of the development occurred in 1974 with 150 units. All the units are cement block. There is no public transportation available between the village and the commercial core of the community. Village Oaks Elementary School is located across from Farm Workers Village. An elevated pedestrian bridge over SR 29 provides access between the village and the school.

Infrastructure Needs Assessment

Streets

The roadway network east of SR-29 in the Immokalee community is primarily composed of local roads, which are configured in a traditional grid pattern.   The area west of SR-29, North of Main Street could be best described as an incomplete roadway network.   The Lake Trafford Road corridor contains an incomplete grid pattern, although the framework for one exists.   Lake Trafford, which is beginning to experience periods of severe congestion, could be greatly improved if improvements were made to complete a basic grid network and widen this two-lane facility to accommodate boats and recreational vehicles.  

Eustis Avenue in South Immokalee provides east-west movement between Ninth Street and First Street (CR846).   It continues approximately 1,500 feet east of First Street serving a small residential area.   If Eustis Avenue were extended to SR29, it would provide an east-west alternative and further support the grid concept.   Bethune Avenue and South Ninth Street deadend in the south Immokalee area.

The major arterial roadways are State Road 29, Immokalee Road and New Market Road (SR 29A).   State Road 29 is a two-lane facility that widens to four lanes through the small downtown area.   The four-lane segment is called Main Street and is the focus of redevelopment and economic revitalization.   It is the only segment with on-street parking and sidewalks on both sides.   The two-lane segments of State Road 29 north and east of Main Street have no sidewalks.   Trucks are encouraged to use New Market Road as an alternate to Main Street to avoid the downtown area.  

New Market Road is a two-lane facility with 100 feet of right-of-way and no sidewalks or paved shoulders. The remaining right-of-way and truck parking is limestone.   Vegetable and fruit packinghouses and the State Farmers Market are located along this street.   Trucks use this street as a bypass road to avoid the downtown area and to pick up goods for transport.   The roadway is in poor condition and maintenance costs are high due to damage by trucks dragging limestone on roadway.   Although many people walk or bicycle to work in this area, pathway facilities are unavailable.   A loop road was purposed in 1991 during the preparation of the Immokalee Master Plan.   The road would provide relief to the downtown and neighborhood areas from trucks hauling produce to and from the packinghouses.

First Street (CR846) intersects with SR29 at the beginning of Main Street.   It is four lanes south of Main Street with sidewalks on both sides.   North of Main Street it narrows to two lanes and has a sidewalk on the west side only.

Major problems exist along many of the local roads.   There are few sidewalks.   Typical street widths are less than twenty feet and open storm water systems are adjacent to roadways without paved shoulders or guardrails.   For example, south of State Road 29, along Ninth Street, there are deep, wide drainage ditches on both sides of the roadway.   There are no sidewalks or guardrails to safeguard pedestrians and motorists.   The roadway width is eighteen feet and there are not enough rights of way to construct pathway facilities without converting the open swales to a covered stormwater system.

Sewer and Water

The Immokalee Water and Sewer District provide public potable water and wastewater services.   This district was created by a special act of the Florida Legislature. The District covers roughly twenty-seven square miles. Until 1989, special districts were largely autonomous and had little interaction with local governments.   Beginning in 1991, each independent special district is required to submit an annual report to the appropriate local government.  

Water

While some households draw their potable water from private wells the vast majority of the Immokalee residents receive water from the Immokalee Water and Sewer District.   Although the district boundaries extend 27 square miles, the actual service area is much smaller.  

Sanitary Sewer

Wastewater treatment is also provided by the Immokalee Water and Sewer District.   The central wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system was designed in the late seventies and was constructed and in operation by 1982.   The system is comprised of 80 miles of sewer pipe, 34 lift stations, and a 2.5 MGD treatment capacity.   The district owns a 640-acre spray field and irrigates approximately 350 acres with treated effluent.   However, the Immokalee Water and Sewer District is under a consent order from the Department of Environmental Protection due to insufficient handling of their effluent.   The spray fields are inadequate.   No new sewer hook-ups can be permitted unless the District can show a reduction of flow to the system.

There are a few separate collection systems that were permitted prior to the creation of the district.   Those systems need to be upgraded and included within the district’s authority.

Additional treatment plants and distribution lines will be needed to serve the entire community.

Drainage

Both man-made and natural drainage systems collect and transport surface water run-off, which occurs during, and immediately following rainfall.   The two major facilities can function independently of one another or in combination.   Due to the relatively flat topography of Immokalee, drainage occurs in a sheet flow pattern within a very shallow but wide depression classified as a slough.   Man-made facilities in Immokalee are typically large open swales.

Surface water management problems are present within the entire Immokalee study area.   These problems include localized flooding in neighborhoods in the northeast section of the study area.   Many local roads within the study area are poorly drained and experience flooding as well.   Some of the roads are unpaved and poorly drained.   In South Immokalee where a high concentration of rental units and pedestrian traffic occurs, the typical open drainage ditch is 4 feet deep and 15 feet wide.  

Environmental

The freshwater marshes habitat around Immokalee is connected to the slough/swamp system known as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and together the two habitats serve two primary purposes as primary water storage areas and drainage ways for surface flow.   Undeveloped marshes should be preserved as part of the natural protection areas.  

Immokalee has good groundwater availability with good development potential of the water table aquifer.   There are lands identified on the Immokalee Future Land Use Map as environmentally sensitive areas.   This designation is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute new development standards and has no regulatory effect.   

Elevation

Immokalee is not in a flood zone as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Administration so no flood map has been prepared for the community.   The Immokalee community is one of the highest points in the County.

Open Space

There is significant vacant land in the Immokalee Community.   However, the majority of it is in or has been in agricultural production.   Most of the parcels are large and under single ownership.   The cost of small parcels of land within the community is considerably higher than comparable parcels in surrounding communities.   However, there are opportunities for open space amenities.

In terms of recreation use, the Immokalee community has six park facilities within the Study Area.   Two are relatively passive parks containing picnicking facilities, benches, and observation areas.   One is located next to the airport (5 acres) and the other is at Lake Trafford (2.3 acres).   The remaining parks are: Immokalee Community Park (23 acres) on Immokalee Drive adjacent to the High School; South Immokalee Park (3.2 acres) which houses the American Legion building and a baseball field; Tony Rosbough Park (6.8 acres) on Little League Road has two baseball fields; and the Immokalee Recreation/Aquatic Facility (14 acres), located at the Immokalee Middle School site has a swimming pool and is considered a community park.   There is a total of 54 acres presently in recreation use.   In addition, the schools in Immokalee have their own recreation areas for physical education programs and interscholastic sports programs.   Children under 14 years old comprise 29% (3,186 people) of Immokalee's total population according to the 1990 Census.   Recreation facilities are necessary to meet the needs of this population.  

Community Facilities

The Immokalee Community is served by the Immokalee Fire Control District, an independent fire district.   The service encompasses 215 square miles. There are two fire stations.   One station is located on Carson Road and the other is situated on New Market Road.

The County EMS department provides emergency Medical Service and has a station located on First Street (CR846).

The Collier County Sheriff’s Department provides police protection to the community.   In 1994 a new Immokalee substation was built at the Government Complex in Immokalee.   In 1996, there were 52 employees at the substation including road patrol and support staff.   A community-policing program was initiated in 1996.  

Due to the young age of the population in the redevelopment there are several elementary schools in the area, along with a middle school and high school.   There is one county operated library in the area.

Type of SchoolName of School
Early Childhood The Learning Center
Elementary Highlands
Lake Trafford
Pinecrest
VillageOaks
Middle Immokalee Middle School
High Immokalee High
Adult Education Bethune Education Center

Health Care

There is not a hospital in the community, however the Marion E. Feather Health Clinic is affiliated with the Collier Community Hospital.

Community Goals and Objectives

The Immokalee Community has a long history of community pride and activity.   The first permanent settlers in Immokalee were recorded in 1872.   The community received its current name “Immokalee” meaning “my home” (in Seminole) in 1897 with the naming of the first post office.   Lacking sufficient transportation to other commerce centers Immokalee remained isolated from the coastal towns and developed as an agricultural hub.   Immokalee became the leading producer of winter vegetables in the United States.   Due to agricultural employment opportunities, the area has become ethnically mixed, as farm workers from Haiti, Guatemala, and Mexico have made this area their home.   Its ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity pose significant daily challenges since different groups often have different values, priorities, and even aesthetics.   The cyclical nature of agriculture creates major challenges in many aspects of the community including housing, workforce skills, economic pressures from increased global competition and weather conditions.

Nevertheless, the residents of this rural community have worked together to meet their challenges.   In 1994, the community came together to prepare a grant application for the first round of the Federal Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative.   A strategic plan was written based on community input.   Unfortunately, the community did not get selected as an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community.   However, the work that went into the planning process was not forgotten.   In 1996, the community applied for, and received, designation as a Florida Main Street area.   This program was very successful in bringing technical resources to the community and provided direction on how to move forward on a long awaited goal to improve the physical condition of the downtown area.   This group was instrumental in preparing for the second round of Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community grants that were announced by the Federal government in 1998.   Five community meetings were held, each with over 100 participants.   The Strategic Plan that was developed through this community process is the basis of the Immokalee Redevelopment Area Plan.   

An Immokalee Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee will be appointed following plan adoption to monitor the implementation of the redevelopment area plan.

There are four main areas of concern identified by the community.   The goals and objectives are listed below:

Economic Development Goal:

Diversify the economic base of the community by focusing on agricultural production, processing and research; industrial development including manufacturing, distribution and aviation services; and nature tourism.  

Objectives:

  • Increase small business start-ups and expansions;
  • Develop nature tourism;
  • Recruit new businesses to Immokalee and airport;
  • Nurture entrepreneurial business development and retention;
  • Expand research opportunities in the health care industry;
  • Encourage renovation of structures and infill development in the Main Street Program Area;
  • Increase public transportation opportunities through the community and to outlining areas; and
  • Develop a loop road to serve the truck traffic.

Housing Goal:

To provide safe, affordable housing to all zone residents.

Objectives:

  • Ensure that land is available at or below market rate to build affordable housing;
  • Develop a public/private housing initiative for new construction for both ownership and rental for low, very low and moderate priced housing;
  • Improve the condition of owner-occupied homes through rehabilitation and eliminate substandard housing through code enforcement activities;
  • Improve the condition of rental-occupied housing through rehabilitation and code enforcement activities; and
  • Create incentives to replace existing mobile homes with upgraded mobile or manufactured homes.

Community Image Goal:

To enhance the image and the perception of the community as a safe, friendly, family oriented small town.

Objectives:

  • Maximize current recreational activities;
  • Create recreational/cultural opportunities in cooperation with business, existing youth development programs, and schools;
  • Develop cadre of volunteers to serve the community;
  • Create community based and neighborhood based beautification projects;
  • Increase the number of cultural activities to celebrate community spirit;
  • Create an incentive program for litter control and neighborhood cleanups;
  • Create a code enforcement program that is not complaint driven;
  • Increase community-policing activities in the community;
  • Provide safe and convenient movement of pedestrians throughout the community; and
  • Develop a program to improve dirt lots in the Main Street area that will eliminate the dust and dirt that accumulates in the downtown area.

Redevelopment Area Goals

The community goals were then translated into the Redevelopment Area Goals that were used to develop the Redevelopment Plan activities.

Goals:

  • Develop a circulation pattern for the community, which will provide safe and efficient access throughout the community.   This network will include a loop road to provide the separation of commercial truck traffic from tourist designated places and residential developments.

  • Enhance the physical appearance of properties within the Main Street area.

  • Provide opportunities for adequate, safe, and affordable housing.   Encourage the development of both affordable rental and home ownership through rehabilitation and new construction.

  • Develop a program to address the replacement of existing old mobile homes with newer mobile home units or module homes.

  • Provide opportunities for capturing the tourist trade by creating eco-tourism opportunities at Lake Trafford, Peppers Ranch, and Roberts Ranch.

  • Create adaptive development standards in each of the sub districts identified in the Immokalee Overlay District to permit flexibility and incentives for redevelopment and development.

  • Encourage neighborhood stability through the implementation of additional streetlights, sidewalks, and landscaping throughout the community.

  • Improve the drainage system throughout the community and improve the appearance and function of the open drainage swales through out the community.

  • Diversify the economy by encouraging the recruitment of businesses to the Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park.

  • Improve both the landside and airside facilities at the Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park to meet the future demands for all forms of aviation and business development activities.

Redevelopment Activities

Phase I (1-5 years)

Achieving the goals of the Immokalee Redevelopment Plan begins with a focus on South Immokalee, Main Street, New Market Road and the Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park.   The Plan focuses on Phase I activities and becomes more general into the future.   Since planning is by nature an evolutionary process, each phase of activity attempts to build upon the successful outcome of earlier phases.   Figure 1 identifies the areas of concentration during Phase I.   Based on the analysis and the redevelopment goals the following activities were identified for each of the redevelopment sub areas in Phase I:

Figure 1 – Sub Area Map

Based on the analysis and the redevelopment goals the following activities were identified for each of the redevelopment sub areas in Phase I:

South Immokalee

  • Prepare a Stormwater Master Plan for the area that identifies alternatives to the open drainage swales located throughout the sub area and begin implementation.

      
  • Develop a street lighting plan for the area and begin to install streetlights in “hot spots” as identified by the Sheriff’s Department as high crime areas.

  • Support the development of single family homes on the along the old Atlantic Coastline Railroad Right of Way by developing approved housing plans that meet the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Criteria and Traditional Neighborhood Design that are cost effective.   Coordinate with the Collier County Housing Authority to develop these homes.

  • Evaluate the current placement of commercial uses within the neighborhood, approximately from Boston Avenue south to Bethune Avenue and from 16 th Street SE west to Ninth Street. Develop a program to encourage private property owners to renovate or demolish existing structures.

  • Provide a rehabilitation or replacement of substandard housing within the neighborhood.

  • Property may need to be acquired with in this sub area for the implementation of housing and economic development initiatives.

  • Establish or coordinate with an existing non-profit corporation to promote neighborhood revitalization program including housing rehabilitation, land assembly, credit counseling and home maintenance. 

  • Promote the development of the One -Stop Career Center as a community focal point.

  • Evaluate the need for neighborhood parks in the community and develop them as appropriate.

Main Street Program Area

  • Develop a program to eliminate the dust that accumulates along Main Street and in the landscaped medians.   The program may include placement of sod or resurfacing parking lots.

  • Leverage the Main Street Façade program to encourage the private sector to renovate, demolish, or construct buildings within the Main Street Program area.

  • Develop a Main Street Business Association to work on coordination and implementation of the redevelopment program.

  • Develop a trash incentive program that will provide an incentive to pick up and properly dispose of empty containers and trash within the community.

  • Property may need to be acquired within this sub area for commercial or residential development.

  • Provide interconnection of sidewalks from the local streets perpendicular with Main Street to Main Street.

  • Support the development of the Robert’s Ranch Historical site as a tourist destination and a living museum.   Encourage the development of appropriate uses and buffers on the remaining portion of the home site.

  • Provide for the rehabilitation or demolition of substandard housing.

  • Coordinate with a non-profit corporation to coordinate marketing efforts to attract compatible businesses to the Main Street Area and improve the physical appearance.

  • Develop a revolving loan fund for business start ups or expansion for businesses locating any where in the community.

New Market Road

  • Based on the Immokalee Transportation Study, identify the alignment for a loop road that will serve the industrial uses along New Market Road and relieve the western portion of New Market Road from truck traffic.

  • Support expanding the uses of the State Farmers Market to allow for resale activities and encourage upgrading the façade of the facility to make it more user-friendly and a tourist destination.

  • Develop incentives to diversify the agricultural production and expand production to higher value crops.

  • Encourage commercial infill and rehabilitation through flexible development standards and incorporate them into the Immokalee Overlay District, New Market Subdistrict.

Lake Trafford

  • Encourage the continued development and improvement to the Lake Trafford Marina and park to bring tourists into the area.

  • Develop Pepper’s Ranch and Preserve into an eco-tourism destination, promote transient lodging facilities and restaurants for this area.

  • Revitalize the neighborhoods adjacent to Lake Trafford Road through a comprehensive housing improvement project that will include increase code enforcement, economic incentives for replacement and rehabilitation of mobile homes and the development or rehabilitation of single and multi-family structures.   Install additional streetlights and sidewalks to increase safety in the area.

Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park

  • Expand the Service Center at the Immokalee Manufacturing Incubator to other businesses in the community Market the Foreign Trade Zone and Industrial Park.

  • Develop sites, provide infrastructure, make lease payments, pay principal and interest on debt, and buy equipment and any other items needed to re-locate or retain businesses in the Industrial Park.

  • Provide infrastructure and participate in the cost of other facilities in the development of a motor-sports racing complex at the Airport.

  • Develop standards for controls, restrictions and covenants for the lease of land and for land development regulations.

  • Provided needed infrastructure improvements when necessary to recruit new businesses or to expand existing businesses at the Airport/Industrial Park.

Neighborhood Revitalization/Housing Programs

  • Establish a process to foreclose on properties that have tax liens and make that land available for affordable housing

  • Develop incentives for the construction of new affordable housing in the community including reduced permitting fees, land costs, and processing time.

  • Coordinate with Code Enforcement, the Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Revenue to enforce existing codes and develop new regulations that are appropriate to the needs of the community.

  • Maintain, enhance or develop neighborhood parks throughout the community that are safe and convenient for the residents.

Phase II (5-10 years)

Phase II focuses on continued emphasis on economic development and public/private partnership to redevelop the Main Street Program area and the Immokalee Regional Airport and Industrial Park.   Neighborhood Revitalization will continue and expand into the areas located off of Immokalee Drive and SR 29. The following activities are planned for Phase II:

  • Continue active marketing of the community as a tourist destination.   Activities could include assistance with land acquisition, public/private ventures for building improvements, and other marketing incentives.
  • Continue to support and coordinate with the Immokalee Beautification MSTU efforts and support the expansion of the MSTU boundaries to include the rest of the community
  • Expand commercial rehabilitation grant to all other areas.
  • Continue land assembly for the development of new affordable housing
  • Continue to install streetlights and sidewalks and shade trees throughout the community.
  • Complete the construction of the Loop Road and other roadway improvements as needed to provide the alternative truck route, moving the trucks out of Main Street.
  • Coordinate with the Parks and Recreation Department to maintain and improve open space and recreation pportunities in the community.
  • Coordinate with Farm Workers Village to develop programs that move tenants from renter housing to home ownership.

Phase III (10-20 years)

Emphasis will be stabilization of neighborhoods and the economic vitality of the community. The following activities will be undertaken:

  • Continue land assembly for the future development of affordable housing and economic development.
  • Continued commercial rehabilitation for all areas.
  • Continued marketing of the area as a tourist destination.
  • Continue infrastructure improvements including roads, drainage, sewer and water expansion, and sidewalks.
  • Continue neighborhood revitalization in all areas.

Program of Public Expenditures

This section focuses on the public sector investment costs and sources of funds to carry out the Phase I improvements for the Immokalee Redevelopment Plan.   Discussion of the mechanisms for managing and packaging capital investments and the CRA redevelopment financing strategy is provided in Section 2 of this plan.

The program of public expenditures summarizes the public expenditures to be made in the Immokalee redevelopment area.   The following table identifies the projects, total costs (when available), local appropriations, and other potential sources of funding including Tax Increment Revenues.

The Plan does not include specific allocation of tax increment revenues.   Instead, the plan identifies tax increment revenues as a potential source of funding for redevelopment projects.   The dollar amount for each project will be determined at a later date.   Costs and funding sources will be refined with input from the Immokalee Redevelopment Advisory Committee and the program of public expenditures amended by CRA Board action when appropriate.

Proposed Publicly Funded Capital Projects and Other Proposed Projects

Project NameTotal CostTIFLocal FundsSource

Local Capital Projects

Immokalee Football/Soccer

$110,000

$110,000

Ad Valorem/ Impact Fees

Robert's PUD/North 11th St.

$170,000

$170,000

Gas Tax

Immokalee Stormwater Master Plan

$580,000

Grants

Sidewalks

$367,000

$367,000

MPO

Immokalee Mobility Study

$25,000

$25,000

MPO

South Immokalee

Stormwater Management Improvements

TBDL

MSBU/grants

Streetlights

TBDL

MSTU/grants

Land Acquisition

TBDL

Grants

Commercial Rehabilitation

TBDL

Grant, Main Street

Housing Development

TBDL

Grants

Permitting/Development Fees

TBDL

Marketing

TBDL

Grants

Main Street Program

Parking Lot Improvements

TBDL

MSTU/grants

Commercial Rehabilitation

TBDL

Grants

Trash Incentive Program

TBDL

Grants

Land Acquisition

TBDL

Grants

Permitting/Development Fees

TBDL

Sidewalks

TBDL

Grants/state/local

Enclose Drainage Swales

TBDL

Grants/state/local/MSBU

Project NameTotal
C
ost
TIFLocal
Funds
Source

Roberts Ranch Historic Site

TBDL

Grants/state/local/fed

Marketing

TBDL

Grants

New Market Road

Loop Road Construction

TBDL

Impact Fees/Grants/Gas Tax

Renovation to State Farmers Market

TBDL

Grants/state

Zoning Overlay

Ad Valorem

Lake Trafford

Marketing

TBDL

Ad Valorem

Land Acquisition

TBDL

Grants

Permitting/Development Fees

TBDL

Grants

Housing Development

TBDL

Grants

Housing Rehabilitation

TBDL

Grants

Streetlights

TBDL

Grants

Sidewalks

TBDL

Grants

Neighborhood Revitalization

Land Acquisition

TBDL

Grants

Permitting/Development Fees

TBDL

Grants

Infrastructure Improvements

TBDL

Grants

Landscaping

TBDL

Grants

Park Improvements

TBDL

Grants

Immokalee Regional Airport & Immokalee Regional Park

Replacement and refurbishing of runway lights along Runway 9-27

$175,000

$35,000

Phase I Construction of taxiway from runway system to new t-hangar building

$162,500

$32,500

Phase II Construction of taxiway from runway system to new t-hangar building

$162,500

$32,500

Remove wetland from proposed taxiway and t-hangar development area and mitigate for environmental impact

$55,000

$11,000

Construct a bulk storage / maintenance hangar

$400,000

$200,000

Construct a t-hangar building with taxilane

$500,000

$250,000

Construct a bulk storage / maintenance hangar

460,000

$230,000

Construct a t-hangar building with taxilane

$455,000

$227,500

Construct a t-hangar building with taxilane

$509,000

$254,500

Construct a t-hangar building with taxilane

$475,000

$237,500

Conceptual ERP

$350,000

$70,000

Rehabilitate Runway 18-36

$600,000

$120,000

Rehabilitate runway 9-27; Rehabilitate Runway 18-36 to address safety issues

$600,000

$120,000

Expand Apron; Rehabilitate Runway 9-27 to address safety issues

$350,000

$70,000

Expand aircraft parking to meet parking demands

Project NameTotal
Cost
TIFLocal
Funds
Source

Acquire and install emergency generator

$100,000

$20,000

Construct a U.S. Customs Facility and aircraft apron

$230,000

$46,000

Design and permit extension of Runway (Design and DRI Phase)

$250,000

$12,500

Construct extension of Runway

$1,750,000

$87,500

Phase II Construction of taxiway from runway system to new t-hangar building

$162,500

$32,500

Manufacturing Incubator Phase II Construct a manufacturing assembly, wet processing bay and bonded storage facility

$480,000

$48,000

Airpark Boulevard Extension (Extend roads and all utilities including, but not limited to water main, sanitary sewer line, underground three-phase electric, telephone service and drainage swales along the entire length of road extension)

$179,000

$17,900

Fill, grade and install primary drainage system on various airside and landside sites for future development

$480,250

$48,025

Motor-sports Racing Complex Infrastructure (Master plan project and construct restrooms, showers, campground facilities and spectator parking)

$8,885,750

$2,202,925

Valuation

The current tax base of the Immokalee area is based on tax assessment data from the Collier County Property Appraiser’s Office is provided on the table below. The tax increment projections proposed are based on a conservative three percent increase in taxable property values for the years 2000-2010. The three percent is based on general historic and economic observations in the community.

TAX DIFFERENTIAL ANALYSIS

Year Immokalee Taxable Value Frozen Tax Base Increment Countywide Millage Annual Tax Increment Cumulative Tax Increment

1999

$148,524,409

$148,524,409

$0

4.0261

$0

$0

2000

$152,980,141

$148,524,409

$4,455,732

4.0261

$17,042

$17,042

2001

$157,569,546

$148,524,409

$9,045,137

4.0261

$34,596

$51,638

2002

$162,296,632

$148,524,409

$13,772,223

4.0261

$52,676

$104,314

2003

$167,165,531

$148,524,409

$18,641,122

4.0261

$71,298

$175,612

2004

$172,180,497

$148,524,409

$23,656,088

4.0261 $90,480 $266,092

2005

$177,345,912 $148,524,409 $28,821,503 4.0261 $110,236 $376,328

2006

$182,666,289 $148,524,409 $34,141,880 4.0261 $130,586 $506,914

2007

$188,146,278 $148,524,409 $39,621,869 4.0261 $151,546 $658,459

2008

$193,790,666 $148,524,409 $45,266,257 4.0261 $173,134 $831,594

2009

$199,604,386 $148,524,409 $51,079,977 4.0261 $195,370 $1,026,964

2010

$205,592,518 $148,524,409 $57,068,109 4.0261 $218,274 $1,245,238

Scenario Assumptions of Immokalee CRA:

  • Frozen Tax Base – Assumes the Community Redevelopment Plan is adopted in June 2000.
  • The Countywide Millage Rate is based on FY99/00 Genera Revenue Rate of 3.5058 and the Unincorporated Rate of .5203.
  • A 3% Annual Growth Rate is applied to years 2001-2010.
  • Annual Tax Increment is 95% of Total Tax Revenue.

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Flash Player QuickTime Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer