Daniel Paragrin was standing on the dock on the south side of the Caloosahatchee River during LaBelle’s Annual Wharf Walk celebration last year when he gazed across the water at what would become his newest project and business venture: The River’s Edge Motel. The motel was originally built in the late seventies and hadn’t seen renovations in many years, but that evening Daniel, who has been visiting LaBelle since he was a small boy with his family and has since made LaBelle his home, saw an intersection of need and potential situated at 285 Old County Road 78.
Since purchasing the motel, Daniel has made many improvements including new beds, new carpeting, new paint, flat screen tv’s, new privacy walls for the back porch decks overlooking the river from each room (which were repurposed from a large fence that was torn down because it was obstructing the view of the river sunset), a new and improved deck for the pool area complete with a stereo system, and that is just the beginning of where his vision for the motel is headed.
The bathrooms and kitchens are going to be completely refurbished next and then the exciting new plans for the outside of the motel will be underway.
“We’re planning on doing rental pontoon boats and deck boats after we build the new dock. Right now we are just waiting on the plans to be reviewed for permits,” says Paragrin. “We are steadily making improvements,” he added.
Daniel is also planning to host location weddings in the future.
What was most exciting to me was the plans that Daniel has to open a glass walled, climate controlled gym overlooking the river connected to the motel’s pool area by a breezeway. Membership, which will be open to the community as well as the motel guests, would include access to kayaks and paddle boards as well as the fully functioning gym.
Most impressive is Mr. Paragrin’s passion for the community. The motel has already hosted an event for the Swamp Cabbage Festival with live music, a food truck, beverage vendor, and outdoor activities which doubled as a fund raiser for West Rec’s new ramp. The LaBelle High School Band was given permission to sell parking vouchers for spots at the motel during the festival as well, and they raised over $750 for new band uniforms.
The motel is planning another event for Memorial Day weekend, including a Bass Tournament, which will benefit the local VFW.
Daniel says “I just want to get outside and have fun and do something to help the non-profit organizations around town. It’s a really cool community. It’s really close knit and we just want to give back.”