NAPLES — Freedom Park is on schedule to open April 2009, two months ahead of schedule, a project manager told Collier County commissioners this morning.
The $10 million park, under construction east of Goodlette-Frank Road and north of Golden Gate Parkway, is planned to do double duty as a recreation spot and a place to clean up water through a series of four lakes before emptying into the Gordon River.
When it is completed, the park will include 3,500 feet of boardwalk, almost two miles of hiking and biking paths, viewing platforms at each lake and an education center, Kraft Construction senior project manager Henry McKevitt told commissioners.
A memorial honoring the heroes of the 9/11 attacks is proposed as a focal point for the park, but the memorial is not planned to be built by the time the park opens. A fundraising campaign is under way to pay the $1.8 million tab. So far, the campaign has raised $100,000. County commissioners approved a $125,000 tourist tax grant for the memorial this morning.
For more information about the Freedom Memorial and ways to contribute, go to www.collierremembers.org or call the North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District at 254-3169.
Work got started on Freedom Park, originally called the Gordon River water quality park, in December 2007 and is planned to be finished April 15 rather than the original completion date of June 9, McKevitt said.
Wildlife is not waiting for the opening, McKevitt said, showing pictures of an owl, hawk and roseate spoonbill that have shown up at the construction site.
"We go out there every day and find something new," he said.
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