ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- The St. Augustine Alligator Farm has been bursting at the seams with success in the past few years. That's why it is looking to expand, but not everybody is happy about it, specifically the neighbors.
The 11 acres the farm wants to develop is right in front of nearby homes' front yards.
"Me and my friends, we used to go play in the woods. There's a lot of history as far as the neighborhood and just having it in front of our house so it would be a shame to see it go," said George Furlipa, who lives across from the property the park wants to develop.
The Alligator Farm says the plans should help the neighborhood, cutting down traffic by adding a new parking lot.
They also want to install a children's zipline. The park told Action News it wants to play nice.
"We want to be good neighbors," said Park Director John Brueggen. "We've been here 120 years which means we've been here longer than most of our neighbors but we still want them to be comfortable with us."
The property does in fact belong to the Alligator Farm, but Brueggen says it still needs proper permitting before they can go ahead with construction, for that they'll have to get their concept past the city and past frustrated neighbors.
"There has been time when the Alligator Farm gets really busy and traffic comes," said Furlipa. "Sometimes traffic comes down to our street and that just makes it a hassle when you're coming and going."
But the farm says they want to keep everyone happy.
"Our intention is for our neighbors in the area that butt up against that property is to leave a nice, big 50-foot tree buffer so they're still looking at nice trees but then be able to expand the parking," said Brueggen.
The issue will be on the table again in early January when it goes back to the city for approval.
If the park gets the permit, it hopes to have the new parking lot complete as early as February, and the children's zipline complete by the end of next year.