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Affordable housing plan sought for Naples first responders

Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 18:49:08-04

Some firefighters working for the City of Naples are spending a lot of time on the road - not only on service calls, but simply getting to and from work.

"We have, I'd say, ten to twelve employees that commute over an hour to work each shift," said Naples Fire Chief Pete DiMaria. "Broward County, up to Charlotte and other counties, so it's both affordable, and gives them the opportunity to get back to work within an hour, hour and a half."

With Naples being one of the priciest ZIP codes in the U.S., homes here are out of many first responders' price range.

"They're starting out in life, they're getting engaged and having kids, and it's difficult with one income," DiMaria said. "I think it's just difficult in general to find homes here in Collier County that are affordable."

But city council member Linda Penniman is working on a proposal to sell a piece of city-owned property off of Solano Road. The plan is to put the proceeds from the sale into a housing fund, and loan the money to city employees for housing expenses.

"I think it's an admirable thing for the council member to try to undertake," DiMaria said.

At a workshop this week, city council asked Penniman to gather more information about the project, for discussion at a future meeting.