PUNTA GORDA — After months of delay due to coronavirus, owners of Nino’s Bakery & Restaurant and Punta Gorda Self Storage can officially say their businesses reside in the city.
The City Council recently approved the final steps to allow the two businesses to annex into the city limits.
By annexing, residents or businesses elect to join a city, often looking for more responsive governmental services such as policing and fire protection, as well as utilities and sanitation.
The owners filed their paperwork months ago to make the change but the city had to suspend public hearings for months due to coronavirus.
“The last thing (we had to do) was the public hearing,” said Bobby Cox, part-owner of Punta Gorda Self Storage located at 3086 Cooper St. “We’ve been waiting since May. We were getting ready to set a date for this and then the virus hit so then they shut down the public hearings.”
William Levi, an owner of Nino’s Bakery located at 3078 Cooper St., had been waiting since December 2019.
“We should have been done months ago,” Levi said, “(but) we love Punta Gorda. The services are going to increase (by annexing) — fire, police response and water, sewer.”
Levi said joining the city will help his business expand going forward.
“We’re going to get an increase in service which allows our load to increase as far as patrons, and as far as the ability to expand our wholesale (bakery) side which will create more jobs as far as COVID-19 (begins to) disappear.”
Cox and his wife Hope took over Punta Gorda Self Storage four years ago but have lived in the city off and on for longer.
“We’ve been (in Punta Gorda) 15 years part-time and now we are full-time,” Bobby said. “We bought this place four years ago and are just delighted to be a part of the city.”
With only one bathroom at the storage facility, Bobby said they didn’t necessarily need to connect to the city’s water but wanted to do so for the environment.
“It’s for the better ... for the environment, groundwater and so forth,” Bobby said. “We are very conscience about that and with the police and fire services response being fast and public sanitation instead of private like before ... we’re excited about it now.”