The city of Naples wants to use federal grant money to construct a new sidewalk in River Park, the city’s poor, mostly black neighborhood whose residents say the area could be served by a variety of public facility improvements.
The sidewalk would be built on the north side of Fifth Avenue North, stretching east from Goodlette-Frank Road to Anthony Park.
The sidewalk is the city’s latest proposal to use Community Development Block Grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money, which is distributed to Naples annually through an agreement with Collier County, is required to be used in low-income areas.
Community leaders criticized city officials in the fall when the Naples Daily News reported the city has often left tens of thousands of dollars on the table when carrying out its CDBG projects. About $275,000 of the money earmarked for the River Park area has been reallocated to county nonprofits since 2001, the Daily News reported.