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Neighbors on Golden Gate street push back against upcoming charter school

Posted at 10:41 PM, Dec 06, 2023

NAPLES, Fla. — One quiet Golden Gate street found out their oasis will soon have a school built in the middle.

"It'd be like 20 feet from my garage, so I really don't feel like it's fair at all," said Kenneth Beach, homeowner on Seventh Avenue Northwest.

Beach has lived on the street for more than 30 years. The plot next to his house is currently uninhabited but soon, a charter school will take over the 16 acres and four homes east of his property.

"I would like to see one of the commissioners go down Vanderbilt at 7:30 in the morning and see if they would like to sit in traffic for you know, 20-30 minutes and then have some 100 more cars on the road, without even the infrastructure in place," said Beach.

The street is located just south of Vanderbilt Beach Road, a rapidly developing road in Golden Gate. Neighbors Fox 4 spoke with acknowledged the growth in the area but feel the school belongs elsewhere.

One homeowner on the street tells Fox 4 the reason he moved to the estates seven years ago was for its rural feel.

"There are plenty of places on Collier Boulevard or on the other side of Vanderbilt that are commercial spaces," said Conover. "Where a school would be ideal is an open Hodges University not far from here. A building like that would make a great spot for a charter school like Mason Academy as well. We just don't want to see our way of life changed forever."

The Mason Classical Academy Executive Director says it's because of the school's extensive wait-list that makes the build, with the timeline and location, so crucial.

"We are not anti-education, but this is the wrong place for a school," said Conover. "There are 16 acres of woods and four homes that they want to build on this country road. It doesn't make sense.