Saturday, June 18, 2005

Commissioners OK Ave Maria project

Collier County commissioners gave a unanimous thumbs-up Tuesday to the $220 million development of a new Roman Catholic university and a town that could have 11,000 dwellings in the next 10 years.

Ave Maria University, spearheaded by Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, and its town, developed by Barron Collier Companies of Naples, will be built in eastern Collier County, 5 miles south of Immokalee and just west of Camp Keais Road.
Monaghan, a Catholic philanthropist, is the largest donor to the university, which is run by lay Catholics and not by a diocese or religious order.

Barron Collier, one of the largest landowners in Florida, donated 1,000 acres for the university and will develop another 4,000 acres into a surrounding town.
Plans call for the university, which now operates in The Vineyards area of Collier County, to open its new campus in the fall of 2007, said the Rev. Joseph Fessio, provost.

Dormitories, academic buildings and a church will be built during the first phase of the university.

A large church, called an oratory, will also be built. It has been scaled back in size and design from original plans. It was designed as a soaring glass and steel structure that would seat about 3,300 and reach 15 stories high."
Dwellings in the first neighborhoods of the new town will also be ready for occupancy in 2007.

The town will offer dwellings from rentals for low-income workers to luxury homes on golf courses.
Early construction of roads and utilities will be directed by the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District, a special taxing district approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jeb. Bush.

The development will donate a total of $7.8 million worth of right of way land — a total of 150 acres representing 13 miles of roadside — necessary to improve roads in the area.
The set from the Truman Show, only with lots more churches? Petting zoo for American clergy? I sure don't know, but I'll be happy to kick in for expansion if it means wrangling all of the holy rollers into one congressional district.

Maybe Jebbie's latest intrusion into the private affairs of the Schiavo family is his first bid for canonization...


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