Toppled Trees are Saved at Wonder Gardens!

Hurricane Irma uprooted and severed the roots of hundreds if not thousands of trees throughout Southwest Florida this past September.  Landscapers have cleared  away almost all of the debris from the roads and yards to return Naples to its beautiful appearance that we all cherish.

A historical place in Bonita Springs, Wonder Gardens,  has dozens of trees dating back to the 1930’s and earlier. Some were saved and some sadly were put to rest.  A banyan tree that had been planted before World War II soared higher than the rest of the surrounding trees was luckily saved five weeks after Irma tore through the gardens. Young trees can be purchased and planted for $2,000 to $5,000, but would take decades to get to the size of any surviving trees.

The owner, Al O’Donnell, seems very optimistic. He says that the trees are known to grow back with little or no roots at all. “Wonder Gardens should return to its attractive appearance in about two years”, he said.   In a about five summers, you won’t even be able to notice what happened.   The job O’Donnell and his crew completed could have cost the nonprofit Wonder Gardens about $31,000.  O’Donnell said choosing to volunteer was easy.  “(The Wonder Gardens) is an icon for downtown,” O’Donnell said. “It was the right thing to do.”

Source: Naples Daily News

Free Trolley for Naples Beaches

Great News! Beachgoers will be able to skip the meters, the stickers and circling for parking spaces this season in North Naples!

Collier County will start a free beach trolley, its latest effort to find a cheap solution — and one that doesn’t involve more pavement and higher parking garages — to alleviate overflowing parking lots and backups during the busiest times of the year. The county is hoping it will meet with more success than a little-used trolley last year that followed a less desirable route and wasn’t free.

Starting Dec. 29, anyone will be able to hop on the trolley for free as it circles between Vanderbilt Beach and Delnor-Wiggins State Park. The trolley will travel from the two beaches, across Immokalee Road, and go a mile-and-a-half along U.S 41, where it will stop near Mercato before cutting back to the beaches.

The route will be short enough for the trolley to circle back to each stop every 15 or 20 minutes, said Michelle Arnold, director of alternative transportation for the county.

The trolley will head into the state park to dr op riders off dir ectly at the beach. The park charges a $2 entry fee, which will be collected from trolley riders who get off at the Delnor-Wiggins stop.

County officials hope the trolley proves convenient and popular enough to make a dent in the number of people who line up at the Vanderbilt Beach parking garage or sit in traffic at the entrance to Delnor-Wiggins park, waiting for a spot to open.

This season, the trolley will run in the mornings and evenings around sunset to carry riders during the busiest beach times.