Collier County considers new resort

Posted at 6:34 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-27 12:05:37-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Brett Diamond’s family doesn’t only know how to color coordinate their swimsuits; they know how to have a good time, too. So much, that they were willing to travel 600+ miles for it.

“We traveled twice in the last 12 months all the way to Atlanta to go to this resort,” he said.

That’s where the closest Great Wolf Lodge is located. It’s a family resort and indoor waterpark. Pending further discussion, Diamond may not have to travel o far for the resort.

Collier County Commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to start a conversation between the compnay Great Wolf Lodge and county managers to bring the resort near the Paradise Coast Sports Complex in Naples.

Diamond says if that does happen, it’ll boost the local economy.

“So, it actually brought us to the lodge, and then we explored outside that lodge,” he said. “I think the same thing os going to happen with the lodge here.”

Commissioner Bill McDaniel says the resort will bring 1,400 jobs to the area including construction gigs to build it.

But, not everyone’s on board. Some say it’ll bring unwanted traffic to the area. McDaniel says that’s an issue that needs to be addressed with or without the resort. Something he’s already pushing the county to do.

“Put the necessary infrastructure in to support the population that’s here. Let alone those that are coming. Then, traffic no longer becomes that much of an issue,” he said.

Diamond also says the location - off I-75 just east of Collier Blvd - would keep traffic concentrated to that area.

“Once you get off the main interstate, you’re going to be there relatively quick. So, you won’t be bogging down where most of the residents live anyways,” he said.

If approved, the resort will go in Commissioner Mcdaniel’s district, District 5 and, Commissioner Rick LoCastro’s district, District 1.

Hearing a lot of pushback from his constituents, and pending results from county management, LoCastro says his mind isn’t made up yet. But, he’ll consider the resort keeping one thing top of mind.

“You know, most importantly to me, the need. I’m not a fan of - if you build it they will come,” he said.

The resort is slated to cost $230 million. Collier County would front Great Wolf $15 - $20 million to get started and then get reimbursed 3-5 years down the line. LoCastro says they could have an update from county management as early as the next commissioners meeting.