A Collier County judge will hear a request for an injunction Thursday morning to restore access to the historic Smallwood Store Museum in Chokoloskee.
Mamie Street, the paved road leading to the 105-year-old Smallwood Store, was bulldozed and blocked by a chain link fence in April. Sources told the Naples Daily News that property owner Florida-Georgia Grove LLC tore up Mamie Street when it learned the Army Corps of Engineers would refuse a permit request for an alternate store entrance because of wetland issues. Taking out the road would force the Corps to reconsider.
The destruction infuriated area residents like Betsy Perdichizzi with the Marco Island Historical Society, which helped raise money to convert the store to a museum.
“This is worse than any hurricane. This old store and museum has survived so many hurricanes in the last 100 years and now a modern day developer can come in and ruin part of our history,” she said
The museum closed because there’s no way to get there.
Surviving members of the Smallwood family and the Collier County Commission brought the court challenge asking Florida Georgia Grove LLC to restore the road and pay for it. The county says Mamie Street was publicly maintained or more than 70 years, giving it “prescriptive easement” status.
The hearing at the Collier County Government Center will be preceded by a rally organized by Smallwood Store supporters. Calls to Florida Georgia LLC’s attorney were not returned.
Thursday, 15 September 2011 07:09
Smallwood Store Access Has its Day in CourtWritten by Valerie Alker