Created in the 1980s, Bonita Bay is a master planned community, located off US 41 in Bonita Springs, Florida between Naples and Fort Myers. It is surrounded by the Imperial River, Estero Bay, and Spring Creek. From its inception, Bonita Bay was designed to blend with its natural surroundings, to be in harmony with an unspoiled ecosystem of 2,400 acres – more than half of which is dedicated to open space. This was the dream of the late David B. Shakarian, founder of GNC and Bonita Bay Properties, Inc., the master developer of Bonita Bay. The Bonita Bay Community Association (BBCA) was incorporated in 1985.
The community developed over the past 30 years and includes 3,100 private homes, condominiums, and villas located within 56 neighborhoods, three on-site parks (Riverwalk Park, Estero Bay Park and Spring Creek Park), a beach park, community patrol, community activities and grounds maintenance, design review and an administration department.
In September 2002, BBCA received the Floriculture Award, presented by the Florida Nurserymen & Growers Association (FNGA) during its annual Landscape Awards Banquet in Orlando. The Floriculture Award recognizes landscapes for outstanding use of color. Bonita Bay took the highest honors in the under $50,000 category, one of three Floriculture categories. It’s the second time the community association has received the prestigious award, having been named the sole Floriculture Award winner in 1999 for its butterfly garden, located on less than an acre in Estero Bay Park.
In 2004, Bonita Bay was certified as an Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary, only the sixth property in Florida and the 38th in the world to be certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Business and Corporate Properties. To achieve certification, the community association demonstrated excellence in environmental planning, wildlife-habitat management, resource conservation, waste management and outreach and education.
In 2005, the Community Association Institute South Gulf Coast Chapter honored the Bonita Bay Community Association with the Community Association of the Year Award for overall excellence.
In 2006, the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) presented BBCA with their FNGLA Award of Excellence in Commercial Maintenance.
In 2010, the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) presented BBCA with two awards: 2010 Landscape Award, Coral Reef Garden and the Beach Park Exotic Removal and Replacement.
In June 2011 Bonita Bay transitioned governance of the Association from a developer-controlled Board to a resident-controlled Board.