Lee County residents are invited to participate in a survey to share ideas about the features and amenities important to a reimagined Lee Civic Center. Go to www.leegov.com/CivicCenter for the survey and related information.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners is working with county staff to visualize a new, reimagined future for the Lee County Civic Center complex,11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers. This includes a commitment to maintaining activities for 4-H and the Southwest Florida Fair. This also includes a process to see what short-term repairs can be made to keep the site operational.
An assessment study of the property was conducted last year by a team of specialized local architects and engineers licensed in Florida.
The study evaluated all 14 buildings of the 96-acre property. The executive summary, also available on the website, provides an overview of the completed comprehensive structural and architectural assessment.
To watch a video of the Lee Board of County Commissioners discussing the Civic Center on March 21, go here. At that meeting, staff made a recommendation, which the Board approved, to temporarily close all buildings on the Lee Civic Center property effective immediately with the exception of the Civic Center main building, which remained open until Sunday, April 2, for the conclusion of the Ft. Myers Gun Show.
County staff will provide an update Tuesday at the regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners’ meeting. This will include recommendations for the structures at the site, some of which will reopen soon to accommodate upcoming events.
The commission meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in Board Chambers in the Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main St., downtown Fort Myers.
Lee County Solid Waste’s fifth annual “Donated not Wasted” food rescue campaign encourages seasonal residents and visitors to donate unopened pantry items before returning north.
Since the program’s inception, 25,385 pounds of food has been diverted from potential disposal and sent to the Harry Chapin Food Bank – enough food to provide more than 21,000 meals to residents.
Join Lee County Solid Waste, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Waste Pro, the Lee County Library System, the Sanibel Public Library and Lee County Parks & Recreation in this effort to help route food that might otherwise end up in the waste stream to the county’s population of people in need.
To help, drop off unopened canned or dry goods from Monday, March 27, to Monday, April 10, at open libraries or Lee County recreation centers. Additional collection containers are at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Interpretive Center and Lee County Solid Waste’s Topaz Court Facility.
Lee County will open Lynn Hall Memorial Park, San Carlos Bay-Bunche Beach Preserve, Bonita Beach Park and Bonita Beach Accesses 1-10 starting Saturday, March 4.
These locations previously had been slated to reopen later this spring. There will be no charge for beach parking until further notice.
“We are thrilled to announce the reopening of our beach park facilities after the devastation of Hurricane Ian. It is heartening to hear from our residents and visitors how eager they are to once again enjoy these amenities, and we are grateful for their patience during the rebuilding process,” said Brian Hamman, Chairman of the Lee Board of County Commissioners.
“I would also like to commend the county staff for their hard work and dedication in getting these facilities back up and running. These efforts have helped to restore a sense of normalcy and community pride to our area.”
The announcement comes after Boca Grande Beach Accesses and Dog Beach opened on March 1. Alison Hagerup Beach Park on Captiva is anticipated to open March 10. Bowditch Point Park and Crescent Beach Family Park remain closed as work to reopen them continues.
Residents and visitors are advised:
Beaches and beach parks have not been restored to pre-Hurricane Ian conditions.
Some amenities such as restroom facilities, piers and walkovers have not been repaired or replaced at this time.
Debris continues to wash onshore and quickly may be obscured by sand.
Beach shoes should be worn at all times.
Debris can still be found in near-shore areas, such as dunes or mangrove-lined coastlines.
Check for any beach or water advisories from the Florida Department of Health-Lee County at lee.floridahealth.gov. FDOH-Lee on Feb. 20 issued a red tide alert for portions of the coast in Lee County.
Closure signs are posted where necessary, and www.leeparks.org has status updates.
The entrance to San Carlos Bay-Bunche Beach Preserve, 18201 John Morris Road, will be closed every Tuesday and Wednesday beginning March 7, to allow the state’s licensed contractor to remove hurricane debris along the preserve’s coastline safely.
To ensure safety, the contractors need to keep the road and beach area closed and clear of all pedestrian and vehicular traffic while the debris is moved off the beach.
Hurricane Ian damaged Lee County’s beaches and sensitive ecosystems with storm debris, pollution, and the removal of healthy, safe sand and dune vegetation. The county is ensuring that the beach restoration process’s many elements are rigorously documented to support full reimbursement through federal funds.
Lee County has announced improvements to the busy intersection of Burnt Store Road and Tropicana Parkway in northwest Cape Coral as part of its ongoing Burnt Store Road Widening project.
Lee County DOT has been monitoring this intersection and has heard concerns about its current configuration. A review of the crash data associated with the intersection indicate that there has been a marked increase in crashes, with a total of 25 last year.
The improvements will occur in two phases and will create a safer intersection for motorists.
Beginning Thursday, Feb. 23, DOT crews will implement phase one and use barricades to close the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of Burnt Store Road. This temporary adjustment will eliminate all left turns at the intersection.
In addition to immediately reducing the risk of collisions, this move also will create a safe work zone for the county’s contractor during phase two improvements. For phase two, the county is currently working with the designer and contractor for the Burnt Store Road Widening project to design and implement alterations to the intersection before the widening project is completed in spring. Once permanent work is completed at the intersection, north and southbound traffic will again be able to make left turns.
Today’s announcement comes because steps DOT initiated last year did not have enough impact on motorists’ behavior. Those steps included adjusted signage and landscaping. The steps planned now for Burnt Store Road and Tropicana Parkway mirror those the county previously took to boost safety at Burnt Store Road and Embers Parkway.
The county continues to coordinate with the City of Cape Coral throughout the project.
The design changes for the Cape Coral Bridge are to replace both the eastbound and westbound spans, gaining additional 40-plus years of useful life at the present-day value of $20 million. Commissioners reached a consensus on that plan at a Feb. 6 workshop.
Previously, plans were to replace the westbound span with a new three-lane bridge and widen the eastbound span to add a third lane. However, the latest Florida Department of Transportation design requirements would have significantly increased the cost of widening the eastbound lanes.
Construction on this project is slated to begin in 2027.
The Cape Coral Bridge will remain open and the current four-lane configuration will be maintained throughout construction.
Lee County will resume normal toll operations on two of its three bridges beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Tolls have been suspended since shortly before Hurricane Ian’s landfall Sept. 28. The county announced the suspension in tandem with the state’s announcement of tolls being suspended at state toll plazas. The state resumed normal toll collections earlier today, Oct. 25.
Beginning Nov. 1, only the Cape Coral Bridge and the Midpoint Bridge will resume toll collections. No tolls will be collected on the Sanibel Causeway until further notice.