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Collier County might consider cleaning up toxic land for ATV park

Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 18:24:34-05

Plans for a new ATV park in Collier County near Lake Trafford - originally scrapped because the land contained toxins - may be reconsidered.

"It had toxins in the sand that would obviously become airborne when you're riding around," said Graham Ginsberg, an ATV enthusiast who has been waiting years for an off-road park to be built in Collier County.

Commissioner Donna Fiala suggested that the land could be cleaned up, but the cost is estimated at $10 million. The county only has about $3 million set aside for an ATV park. 

Ginsberg thinks that the remaining cost could be covered by tourist tax dollars.

"It's absolutely a tourist draw," he said. "People from Collier County ride in other counties because they don't have a place to ride here."

After finding the toxins at the Lake Trafford site near Immokalee, the county explored building the ATV  park by the Immokalee Airport. But the location was dismissed after it was found to be a secondary habitat for the Florida panther, which is an endangered species.

"The Immokalee Airport (site) in my opinion was a waste of everyone's time," Ginsberg said. "They should have known up front that there's going to be panther habitat issues."

County commissioners were scheduled to address the issue of the ATV park at their regular meeting Tuesday. But Commissioner Bill McDaniel - who is part owner of an off-road park in Hendry County - made a motion to table that discussion. Commissioners are expected to address it at their next meeting in two weeks.