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Florida Heartland Economic Region of Opportunity (FHERO)

FHERO is a regional collaboration of six counties: Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Okeechobee, the city of Belle Glade, and the Community of Immokalee in Collier County whose purpose is to coordinate the collective economic power to advance the region. The designated contact for Collier County is Christie Betancourt, Collier County CRA, Immokalee Operations Manager, and the Non-Profit Organization Engaged in Economic Development contact is Melanie Schmees, Naples Chamber Business & Economic Research Director. The 2017 compliance report summarized activities including working with local board of realtors, Immokalee Foundation, Collier County Airport Authority and professional networks to gather information on available sites and buildings for sale and lease.


In 2019, FHERO was awarded a Regional Rural Development Grant in the amount of $97,500 which included $22,000 for the development of a Strategic Economic Development Plan for the Immokalee community. The consultant, VisionFirst, is tasked with developing a three-year plan for the community of Immokalee and eastern Collier County in partnership with the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency and Collier County Economic Development Office. The plan is to be completed in June 2020.

Visit the FHERO website