Imagine the Punta Gorda City marketplace with more than one hotel. The U-Save parking lot, like it was before Hurricane Charley. Plus, more shops, restaurants and places to stay along the water in the Fisherman’s Village.
Looking ahead 15 to 20 years, that could all become reality for the small, historic town known for its charm.
“This is really what shaping the future of their community,” said Mitchell Austin, Punta Gorda city planner.
Austin is working with a Miami-based consultant to create a $250,000 master plan to revamp the area over the next two decades.
There are a few challenges. The biggest is preserving Punta Gorda’s rich history.
“I think it’s just the right size right now for population wise,” said Jeanne Huber, a Punta Gorda resident. “I’d hate to see that small town feel go away.”
“There’s a lot a concern,” Austin said. “About making and maintaining our small town feel and charm feel being an economic and viable location.”
The plan will focus on developing on land along the waterfront and redeveloping the downtown area. The first draft of the master plan is expected to be finished by the fall, then the city council will have to approve the final draft.
“It’s just a beautiful place to live,” Huber said.