I looked at both communities during my home search. I had a contract in Imperial Golf Estates that I backed out of and then tried to put in an offer in Wilshire Lakes that did not get accepted. I have since purchased a home in a different location from both and is not gated.
During my initial home search, Imperial Golf Estates was a community I fell in love with for several reasons, I was not using 75 as my main source of travel or shopping, I was using 41 and the north Naples area, so it was convenient for those aspects. The community also had several different types of housing accommodations so the types of residents varied from seasonal and annual to permanent and from younger to retired. I wanted a multi-generational community/neighborhood.
I too thought I wanted a gated community and a community where golf was not a required membership.
The membership fees here were the lowest I encountered in areas of my interest, they were approximately $100 ish a month and their property management companies were both secure and stable.
While the contract not commencing into a sale in this community ultimately had to do with the seller and the home, I did learn some additional information about the community that I am ultimately did not prefer.
The guard gate was very long at times, which is common in gated communities. In my experience the gates appear to be longer in communities where the gate is not manned. I'm not sure if this has something to do with keypad or remote issues or if it pertains to seasonal/renters and not homeowners but either way gates have lines.
Just as an FYI which I am sure you know, gates whether manned or not, do not provide any additional safety or security. They merely limit motor vehicle access to your neighborhood. I am certainly not trying to scare you or have you rethink areas of interest ,just a reminder to cover all your bases in the Q & A process of your home search and that those calls get made to the proper agencies. Gates give people a false sense of security so checking with the local police departments on area statistics is the most accurate information you can receive. The most expensive homes in Naples are also not gated.
Having a gate is def a preference and it certainly comes with a price. Monthly, quarterly and/or annually.
Communities with gates also limit what you can do at your home, including having an suv or truck, parking in your garage every night, when you can put out your garbage, what color you can paint your home, what kind of mailbox you can have, if you can have a window ac, (which you can not in imperial), if you can have a garage/yard sale etc etc
As for your inquiry about a family friendly neighborhood. .... this is a question that means different things to different people. Your definition of family may be different then someone else's. You need to visit the communities you are interested in to see how they are. Again, remembering that at anytime a neighborhoods occupants can change and they do and that no one has any control over that. Realtors are in the business of selling you houses not people so making the neighbors a major part of your decision may be disappointing down the road.
As for a good school..this is another question that means different things to different people. Are you interested in a school where it's student mostly carry gpa's over 3.5, or where the graduation to enrollment percentage is 90%, or where 70% or more of the students go on to higher education, or where the student to teacher ratio is 15:1? Your questions are subjective to your own concerns and needs and everyone's are different. You should visit the schools you are thinking about sending your children too. Just for an example, I live in a community where the children go to Pelican Marsh elementary. My one neighbor loves her child's teacher and the person who lives next to her has a child in the same class and does not like the teacher, not for academic purposes but bc of personality clash. Same teacher yet two different opinions. You determine your value, so make your rounds for research.
I paid cash for my house, so the price of homeowner and flood insurance was important to me. It was conveyed to me that Imperial is in an active flood zone, which explained why the property insurance would have been so high. The Collier County Flood zones were updated and placed in effect May of this year. Again, something to possibly consider.
Wilshire Lakes depending on where the property is located in the community is very nice. Again...restrictions! I did see more pets here than Imperial during the times I visited and the home I viewed backed up to woods that is not able to be improved on so that was great knowing that no house would ever be built behind it. The fees were much higher here also.