Edited by ECCO--the Estero Concerned Citizens Organization For further information, to provide information or to add names to our mailing list, Email Don Eslick at email@example.com or call him at 949-4050
October Opportunities for Citizen Participation In Protecting Estero's Quality of Life
Tuesday, October 5th
County Roadway Landscape Planning Committee
County Community Development Building, Third Floor Conf. Room, 1500 Monroe St., Ft Myers
Monday, October 11th
Estero Community Park Ground-breaking Ceremony
Estero Community Park Construction Site
Monday, October 11th
Estero Civic Association Meeting on Estero Health Care Progress
Breckenridge Club House
Monday, October 11th
Estero Community Planning Panel consideration of Sandy Lane Extension 90% Plan Review; Miromar Design Center Office and Hotel Complex & University Village
Marsh Landing Clubhouse
Tuesday, October 12th
Estero Fire Rescue District Board
Estero United MethodistChurch-- Founder's Hall
Wednesday, October 13th
Camargo Trust hearing Examiner Zoning Hearing before the Lee County Hearing Examiner
County Community Development Building, Second Floor Conf. Room, 1500 Monroe St., Ft Myers
Wednesday, October 13th
Estero Design Review Committee Review of the Lee County Corkscrew Road Water Facility; the Mobil One Communications Tower & Wildcat Run Renovation
The PerryRoomof The Estero Country Club at The Vines
Monday, October 18th
Board of County Commissioners Estero ParkwayWal-Mart Zoning Hearing
Board Chambers, 2nd Floor, 2120 Main Street, Ft.Myers
Monday, October 18th
Estero Historical Society 100th Anniversary Planning Meeting
Over the last several months questions have been raised about the
Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL). The following is a brief history of this all-volunteer community organization and how it is organized to bring all of Estero's residential communities together to assist one another and to develop consensus on major growth issues facing the community.
About three years ago the
Estero Concerned Citizens Organization (ECCO) began to study the zoning plans for
Coconut Point, the largest commercial project ever proposed for Estero…500 acres, 1,800,000 square foot of retail, 300,000 of office and 600 hotel rooms. In the process ECCO recruited representatives of all the surrounding residential communities. After identifying the concerns of all these leaders the group developed a position paper, discussed it with County zoning staff and finally sat down to negotiate those concerns with the developers. The developers worked with the group to address all of those concerns and entered into a written agreement with the communities to follow through with those commitments, which were also made conditions of the zoning.
After that project was approved in September 2002 the members of this group decided to expand in order to include all the residential communities in Estero and to add the community-wide organizations like the Estero Fire Rescue District, the Estero Civic Association and the Estero Chamber of Commerce. ECCL adopted their first By-laws early in 2003 and has recently decided to incorporate in order to be eligible for both public and private community improvement grants.
As this history indicates the ECCL is a voluntary community organization that tries diligently to listen to the concerns of all Estero residents and to provide a forum for each residential community to obtain support for its concerns from all the other communities in Estero and to present the consensus to the appropriate county and state decision makers. We have successfully represented the community on many commercial zoning projects and in obtaining or accelerating funding for several county and state infrastructure projects. Like other Estero Community Organizations we focus on problem solving and selling the solutions that we develop to private sector leaders and public officials who ultimately make the decision.
The ECCL meets monthly to discuss and take action on all community growth management issues ranging from new zoning and development projects to the needed community infrastructure improvements from roads, to parks, roadway landscaping, post office and emergency medical service facilities. All meetings are open to the public and have received outstanding newspaper coverage.
As more and more of Estero's residential communities have been turned over to the residents, we have asked the Board's of each community to designate one voting member and one alternate member to the ECCL. To date 17 residential community Boards have designated persons to the ECCL. Five (5) other developer controlled residential communities have ECCL members and alternates that have been approved in accordance with the ECCL By-laws. All ECCL members report back to their community Boards and residents directly and through their community media systems ranging from email networks to newsletters to websites or television channels. In addition all ECCL activities are reported through the monthly Estero Development Report with an estimated circulation of three to five thousand Estero households.
Coconut Point is the 483 acre mixed use project located on the east side of US 41 between Williams Road and the Bonita Springs northern boundary. Present zoning authorizes the construction of 1,800,000 square feet of retail space, 300,000 square feet of office space, 1,200 dwelling units and 600 hotel rooms.
On September 9th the developers of Coconut Point held a ground-breaking for the project. Presentations were made the David McArdle of Oakbrook Properties, the developer of the entire project, Tom Schneider of the Simon Development Group, the developer of the Coconut Point Town Center, and Jim Wallace of Wallace Homes, the developer of Rapallo, a 540 home community located within Coconut Point.
The first phase of the Coconut Point Town Center will consist of a Community Center shopping venue with about 40 stores and a lake surrounded by a boardwalk, stores and restaurants. As with all the other buildings in Coconut Point all of these building will be designed in accordance with the 87 page design guidelines recently approved by the County. Site work for this phase is now underway with occupancy scheduled for October 2005. Also opening at this time will be Muvico's 20 screen theater with its Mediterranean hacienda design complete with porte cochere with optional valet parking and a courtyard.
The second phase of the Coconut Point Town Center called "the Village" consists of multi-story, mixed use Mediterranean building lining the main street of the Village with numerous courtyards and other public places. Schneider says that all but one of the anchors for the Village has been signed and negotiations are underway with three possible tenants for the last remaining spot. Twenty to thirty percent of the small spaces have been leased which according to Schneider is way ahead of schedule. He indicated that the entire Coconut Point Town Center will be completely leased at time of opening…a very unusual result.
The overall appearance of the project was summarized by Schneider as follows: "The design of this project is exciting. It's unlike anything not just in this market, but in my experience, there is nothing like it in the country." For more information and pictures go to the www.coconutpointretail.com website.
At the time of the ground-breaking the Rapallo residential community had sold 392 of the 450 homes planned for the community. As a result Wallace has purchased additional land immediately to the south but within Coconut Point to construct another 90 homes. Rapallo is designed after a community in the Tuscany section of Italy, thus it will have a rich Italian Renaissance flavor. The on-site sales office has just been completed and site preparation is well underway in spite of all the Hurricanes.
On September 20th representatives of Coconut Point presented a proposal to the ECPP to revise the buffering along US 41 in front of the large lake in front of the south US 41 entrance to the Town Center. The proposal would improve driver's view of the lake by moving some of the trees from the front of the lake to the rear where they will add to the buffering of the parking lots immediately behind a ring road that borders the lake. The ECPP and the public at the meeting reacted favorably to the proposal but suggested that the trees along US 41 might be larger than planned and that the proposal should also be presented to the Estero Design Review Committee (EDRC) for their suggestions. The developer's representative agreed to do so.
North Point will be Estero's third largest commercial development after Coconut Point and Miromar Mall and Design Center. It will be located on 102 acres on the northeast corner of Williams Road and US 41 and will consist of 550,000 square feet of retail, 120,000 square feet of office, 150 residential units and a 150 room hotel. Because of its size it is being zoned as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI). In addition to the zoning change and the regional impact assessment, North Point needed the BOCC and the State of Florida to approve a change in the County's Comprehensive Plan.
The developers of North Point have purchased nine parcels of land from six different owners and have developed a comprehensive development plan for the entire 102 acres, thus eliminating the possibility of a series of strip malls and small unrelated and potentially incompatible projects.
Since early this year the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL) North Point Committee has been negotiating with the developer, Oakbrook Properties, to ensure that the project meets all of Estero's high standards and is compatible with the surrounding properties. In June representatives of the Committee testified in favor of the project before the Lee County Hearing Examiner expressing concerns about three remaining issues, building height, auto repair and service facilities and gas station/convenience stores. Since that hearing the Committee has met with the developers on several occasions in order to resolve these issues.
On September 20th the BOCC approved the zoning, comprehensive plan amendment and the DRI development order for North Point. Members of the ECCL North Point Committee testified in favor of the zoning because it addressed all the concerns expressed by representatives of all the surrounding communities. The approved zoning includes conditions implementing the following negotiated issues:
Limits the number, location, layout and orientation of the following uses on each of the eight parcels included within the project: animal clinics, auto repair and service facilities, car washes, convenience food and beverage stores including gas dispensing systems, drug stores, mini-warehouses, parcel and express services, fast food restaurants and pet shops and services. These changes not only relate to the appearance of these uses but also to noise buffering, compatibility with adjacent buildings and the location of drive through queuing lanes.
Prohibits outdoor display and storage unless it is enclosed in an architecturally compatible structure.
Encourages the use of under building parking structures for hotel and office use in order to increase the amount of open, green space in the project while limiting the height of these buildings consistent with those applicable to Coconut Point, Embassy Suites and the Hampton Inn. The taller buildings, should they be built to the zoning limits, will not be visible to any existing or zoned housing units except for the 150 housing units included in North Point.
Provides a 30 foot heavily landscaped buffer all along US 41 just like that required of Coconut Point. Two of the tree parcels along US 41 also are zoned for an upgrade option that would provide even larger trees.
The zoning requires that the developer shall develop and gain county approval of appearance standards comparable to those recently approved for Coconut Point. These standards will ensure that all projects with North Point will have compatible Mediterranean architecture and consistent lighting, signage and landscaping.
Approval of this project will ensure that Estero will have nearly three miles of the most attractive commercial development in the country along the east side of US 41 from the Bonita Springs border to almost Corkscrew Road.
For nearly two years Wal-Mart has been seeking zoning approval to build a 228,000 square foot super-store on the northeast corner of Estero Parkway and US 41. This is our sixteenth (16th) monthly report on this project.
On September 23rd Diana Parker, Lee County's Chief Hearing Examiner, issued her 43 page Recommendation to the BOCC. In it she recommends "that the Lee County BOCC approve the Applicant's request …".The Wal-Mart Option included in the zoning includes twenty-two (22) conditions, most of which are the result of the ECCL's Wal-Mart Committee and The
Vines Community Association's 18 months of negotiation with Wal-Mart. The long list of Wal-Mart concessions have been detailed in our earlier reports and by the Hearing Examiner below so will not be repeated here.
The Hearing Examiner's only reservation about zoning the site for the Wal-Mart store is the ability of US 41 to handle the added traffic, one of the ECCL's major concerns since the project was first proposed. On the one hand the Hearing Examiner rejects the staff's suggestion for super-concurrency as not being supportable by Florida and Lee County Concurrency law. On the other hand she believes that the BOCC should consider some Concurrency standards tougher than that which is typically applied to other developments. She suggests two alternatives, one of which is identical to what the ECCL and
Vines representatives advocated at the Hearing Examiner's hearing…"would allow the development to be completed, but would allow the County to withhold the Certificate of Occupancy until the roadway improvements are under construction."
As reported last month we support this position only because Wal-Mart has agreed to provide $1 million to pay the interest on a loan that would permit the widening of US 41 to be accelerated by two years, from construction starting in mid-2008 to mid-2006. The two year loan would be initiated in 2006 with the principal on the loan being paid by the State when its construction funds become available in 2008. Early widening of US 41 is not likely to be accomplished without Wal-Mart's million dollars.
Some Key Excerpts from the Hearing Examiner's Discussion of the Case
"In looking at this case, the Hearing examiner finds that Applicant has gone well beyond the adopted regulations and requirements to ensure the project's compatibility with the mixture of commercial and residential uses in the vicinity of the subject property. Staff agreed that the project was an excellent example of what can happen when the public and developers work together to achieve a project that furthers both interests. Staff could find no fault with the many concessions to be imposed in the event the Board of County Commissioners approves the request. The Hearing Examiner also finds that Staff's proposed conditions, with some reservations, will ensure an upscale project, visually and operationally, that will not adversely impact the uses in the neighborhood."
"Clearly, denial of the requested rezoning would be inconsistent with these provisions and with the intent and goals of concurrency management."
"However, the undersigned Hearing Examiner has concerns whether the denial of this request, is in the best interests of this growing community - ignoring the traffic issue for the moment. As was pointed out by numerous speakers at the public hearing, and as can be verified by close scrutiny of the proposed Master Concept Plan, this proposed plan exceeds the county's compatibility requirements. Applicant, adjacent property owners, and members of the Estero Community worked long and hard to obtain this exceptional development plan. In exchange for their hard work, the adjacent property owners and members of the Estero community received a reduced amount of retail square footage, larger vegetative buffers, higher than normal berms and walls, additional noise blubbering walls inside the site, restricted uses and hours of deliveries, no outdoor storage or sales in the parking lots or driveway isles, and an architecturally pleasing design for the building."
"It is more than likely that denial of the rezoning request will result in the project not being built on the subject property. Since the site has already been approved for 320,000 square feet of retail uses, it will ultimately be developed with retail uses, but the community will have lost its opportunity - without another rezoning request - to participate in the designing of that 320,000. The Hearing Examiner understands that the public opposing this project call this argument the "fear factor", but points out that, whether they like it or not, the preceding sentence is a factual statement of the situation if this request is denied."
"It is the opinion of the Hearing Examiner that this rezoning request can be approved, with conditions that will achieve the intent and goals of the concurrency management provisions."
"Therefore, the Hearing Examiner finds that nothing in these provisions requires the roadway to be under construction before a development order can be issued."
"… it is the opinion of the undersigned Hearing Examiner that any decision made on this matter will effect the "future" of the concurrency management system in LeeCounty. For that reason, she believes that this is a "policy matter" that can only be decided by the Board of County Commissioners. She asks that the Board provide Staff and the Hearing Examiners some guidance on resolving the inconsistency between the interpretations and application of the concurrency management provisions in the Lee Plan and the Land Development Code."
"With regard to the "super-concurrency" condition, the Hearing Examiner finds that the imposition of stricter concurrency management requirements on this project by the Board of County Commissioners would be justified and well within its statutorily delegated authority."
"the Hearing Examiner is proposing two alternative concurrency conditions, in addition to the condition recommended by Staff, for the Board's consideration:
1. The first alternative would allow Wal-Mart to complete its development and receive its Certificate of Occupancy provided the roadway improvements have been commenced within 3 years of the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy.2. The second alternative would allow the development to be completed, but would allow the County to withhold the Certificate of Occupancy until the roadway improvements are under construction."
The Wal-Mart Corporation has a contract to purchase the 46 acre parcel on the northwest corner of Coconut Road and US 41 with plans to construct a 208,000 square foot super-center including a grocery store, tire-lube operation, liquor store and a garden center. In addition their plan for the property would contain three outlots and a gas station site.
On April 21st Wal-Mart filed with the County a "Request for appeal of an administrative interpretation to the Hearing Examiner" in an effort to overturn the county's denial of Wal-Mart's Development Order. County staff has taken the position that Wal-Mart must rezone the property if it wants to build a superstore on this site.
The long awaited hearing of Wal-Mart's appeal was held on July 1st and legal memos were accepted by the Hearing Examiner until July 16th. Six Estero communities, the citizens of four other residential communities and the Hyatt
Coconut Point Resort employed Matt Uhle, an experienced Lee County land use attorney, to represent the community's interest in this matter. In this capacity Mr. Uhle testified at the hearing and filed a legal memo in the case.
On August 9th Lee County Chief Hearing Examiner Diane Parker denied Wal-Mart's appeal in an eleven page decision. The basis of the decision is that "the (Wal-Mart's) plans as submitted are not consistent with the approved Master Concept Plan…She concurs…with Staff's and public's arguments that the primary issue herein is whether the proposed site plan is consistent with the approved Master Concept Plan, and the provisions of the approved zoning resolution and the requirements of the Land Development Code."
On September 9th Wal-Mart's attorney's filed a petition in the Lee County Circuit Court seeking to overturn the Hearing Examiner's decision. September 9th was the last day the Wal-Mart could appeal this decision -- the law permits appeals only within 30 days of the decision.
Mr. Uhle, the attorney for the communities surrounding the property that are members of the ECCL Wal-Mart Committee for this store, indicates that the petition appears to be almost a verbatim restatement of Wal-Mart's closing memorandum to the Hearing Examiner. The petition does not really address, to any substantial degree, the Hearing Examiner's rationale for denying their appeal to her. The petition may be amended by Wal-Mart as the case proceeds.
The Coconut Road Wal-Mart Committee will soon be meeting Mr. Uhle to learn more about the Circuit Court appeal process and what role, if any, the Committee should play in the matter at this time.
Coconut Trace is a 10 acre commercial project just south of the entrance to the
Marsh Landing community. On September 8th the EDRC reviewed the initial plans for this development. The committee offered a number of suggestions to the owner's representative and requested that the owner attend the next monthly meeting of the EDRC to answer some of the questions that they raised about the project design.
The EDRC suggestions included the following:
The developer should develop some design standards for the project so that each of the parcels would have compatible architecture and landscaping. The design standards should include a streetscape plan for the internal roadway, sidewalks and lighting, a specific buffer design along US41, similar to
Coconut Point buffer across US 41, architectural theme/design guidelines that are also compatible with Coconut Point.
A better-than-minimum code buffer along U.S. 41 (Should try and match or be similar to Coconut Point).
The internal roadway should have street trees and lighting to guide vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Urged the developer to meet with the adjacent community,
Marsh Landing, to revisit the idea of connecting the Marsh Landing entry to Coconut Trace. This is the time for Marsh Landing to decide once and for all if it wants this connectivity, both vehicular and pedestrian, and what configuration serves the community best. They will never have that opportunity again due to the configuration of the Coconut Trace site plan.
Pointed out that the sidewalk is NOT optional. The developers representative confirmed that a sidewalk will be included
Revisit the proposed signage design as the proposed sign seems too small for a commercial development of this size.
Enhance the design of the project identification sign and does not satisfy the standards of the Estero Community. Once again the Developer should study what is being planned for the adjacent Coconut Point development across US 41.
Recommend Shady Lady Black Olive or Live Oaks rather than pines trees in the buffers.
On September 8th the EDRC reviewed plans for a
Wachovia Bank to be located on the northwest corner of Ben Hill Griffin and Corkscrew Road. The Committee members applauded the developer for their use of this rather small, narrow site. In addition the EDRC made the following recommendations:
Urged the architect to increase the Mediterranean style of the building and add more detailing to the design.
Use larger roof tiles to give greater texture to the building.
Change of roofline to break it up and thereby improve its appearance.
Verify that the air conditioning system will be hidden from view from all directions.
Substitute Queen’s Crape Myrtle for Natchez variety, which does not perform well in southwest Florida.
Substitute Shady Lady Black Olive trees for the proposed Drake Elms.
Increase the size of the trees to 45 pound variety with height of 12 to 14 feet.
Substitute other accent plant material for Sago Palm which is subject to Asian Scale Problems.
Substitute Sword Fern, which is more water-tolerant for the “Fluffy Ruffle” ferns.
On September 8th Michael Bou-Sliman, the managing partner of the Hampton Inn at I-75 and Immokalee Road, presented his plan for five-story, 94 room Hampton Inn hotel on the Southwest Corner of I-75 and Corkscrew Road. The proposed hotel would be located on a 2 acre outlot immediately east of Corkscrew Woodlands Drive and behind the two remaining outlots fronting on Corkscrew Road. The hotel would be buffered from the
Corkscrew Woodlands community by a preserve area at the rear of the property.
After the presentation the EDRC made the following recommendations:
The proposed signage is inconsistent with the Estero sign codes and in need of redesign.
Add architectural features at top of building to enhance its Mediterranean style.
Redesign the cornice details.
Use a tile roof to help break up roof line.
"Dress up” the center windows under the large sign on the building.
Alter the porte cochere adding tile roof as proposed for the Embassy Suites hotel.
Use a hip roof on median columns and a peaked roof on the center column.
Plant taller Washingtonian palms.
Plant tall sabal palms at the south end of the building.
The EDRC suggested that the presenter return once these changes have been incorporated into the design.
On September 22nd John Ezell, CEO of the Galloway Family of Dealerships, discussed their Coconut Point Ford project with the Estero Council of Community Leaders.
Coconut Point Ford is under construction along the west side of US 41 in front of the Fountain Lakes community.
Mr. Ezell described four levels of buffering along the rear of the property designed to protect the Fountain Lakes community from sight and sound pollution. The buffers include a two foot berm and a 6 foot concrete wall combination; a thick hedge along the wall; a 100 foot preserve area that will be replanted with pines; and a ficus hedge along the access road near the rear of the building. There will be not loud speaker system and no body shop on the premises. In the question and answer session Mr. Ezell indicated he would be open to working with the community if the compactor on site creates a noise problem.
The buffer along US 41 was also discussed extensively. This are and the parking lots will be planted with royal palms, live oaks and sabal palms, about half of which will be larger than required by the County. Hedging the US 41 side of the property will be particularly difficult because of the curve in US 41 raises it considerably at the north end of the property. Mr. Ezell indicated he would do everything possible to buffer the parking lot from excessive views from the road.
Sales lot lighting will be directed inward on the site with not light extending off the property. Test drives will not be through local neighborhoods but on major roads.
Coconut Point Ford is expected to open for business in December 2004 with the official grand opening sometime in next spring.
Select Real Estate by Stephanie Miller announced recently that Applebee's is planning a restaurant in the Estero Interstate Commerce Park on the northwest corner of I-75 and Corkscrew Road. Tiffany Luongo of that firm indicated that the restaurant will have a special Mediterranean design and a larger, well landscaped site in order to meet Estero's high appearance standards. She estimates that the company plans to spend an extra $250,000 on this restaurant. The owners of the restaurant will soon be scheduling a meeting with the EDRC. Ground-breaking is expected by year end.
During the first eight months this year 1,155 housing units with a building value of $252 million were permitted in Estero. The following table shows how this performance compares with the prior four years:
Total Annual Housing Units
Number of Housing Units
Building Value of Units
AverageBuildingValue Per Unit
Percentage of Single Family Units
Thus 2004 ranks third of the five years in the number of housing units permitted but highest in the total building value of those units. Unless Hurricanes Charley and Frances have a negative impact on housing starts during the balance of this year, 2004 should continue the housing recovery started in 2002, after the 911 slowdown.
The building value of the typical housing unit permitted in Estero this year is 27% higher that the next highest year (2002) and at least 42% higher than all the other years. Much of this difference is the result of the large increase in the single family share of the Estero housing market. The residential building value understates the purchase price of each residence because it excludes the value of the underlying land.
Stellar Homes, developers of
Copper Oaks, has scheduled the Grand Opening of this 166 unit housing development on 28 acres of land along the east side of Three Oaks Parkway about one mile north of Corkscrew Road for October 2nd and 3rd. Site preparation has been ongoing for about three months. The community will feature one and two story single family homes with 3, 4, 5 and 6 bedrooms. The community will also have a resort style pool with sundeck; a clubhouse; an elegant brick and stone entrance; decorative privacy walls and lakes and preserves.
On September 20th the developers of
Villagio presented their plans for Phase 2 of this 514 unit multi-family residential community to the ECPP and the Estero residents attending the meeting. This phase includes another 248 housing units in four areas of the 66 acre parcel.
The project is located immediately north of
Copper Oaks on the east side of Three Oaks Parkway between Corkscrew Road and Estero Parkway. Phase one of the project consisted of 266 residential condominium units. Phase one is complete with only four residential buildings left to be certified for occupancy. The buildings are all two story construction and the units are coach home type residential condominiums including a garage. Amenities for the project include a town center area including a pool, fitness facility, theater, activities director, and sales office.
A question regarding an approved signage deviation and interest in the projects plan for additional signage were raised. There are no requests for additional signage included in the current development plans. The existing sign wall at the main entrance will be retained. It was agreed that any additional signage requests would be presented to the Planning Panel at the time those requests are filed.
The Estero Fire representative stated that a meeting was held with Fire District personnel to discuss the hammerhead road design in the northern portion of the project. Design revisions are being considered to improve the Fire District’s accessibility in this area, but the hammerhead will be approved given that the project has a fire sprinkler system.
Demographics of the existing residents and owners were also discussed, including rental policies and the presence of FGCU student residents. Denise Becker reported that there is a wide variety of ages, as well as both full and part time residents, living in
Villagio. She thought that there might be one unit occupied by FGCU students, but was not certain. She did confirm that at least two units were owned by FGCU faculty members.
On September 20th the developers of Hideaway Cove presented their plans for Hideaway Cove to the ECCP. Hideaway Cove is located at the west end of Pine Road north of the Breckenridge community. The present plan is for the development of 96 units on 32 of the 60 acres in the site, with the remaining 28 acres being conveyed to some governmental entity for preserve. The property is immediately west of the Sahdev property recently added to the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve.
The ECPP confirmed that utilities and road improvements will be extended to the site.
On September 22nd the ECCL continued its discussion of Emergency Health Care deficiencies in the community. Greg Toth of Select Real Estate and a member of the ECPP described plans of the physician group that now operates the Naples Urgent Care Facility on Immokalee Road in Naples to develop a privately financed
primary care/urgent care facility on a 10.5 acre plat at Corkscrew Road and Corkscrew Palms Blvd. (across from the existing fruit stand). Two of the physicians from the group that will operate the facility spoke briefly about their plans. This will be a 6,000-8,000 square foot facility focused on primary care and also serving the needs of the nearby business community, and capable of stabilizing injured or seriously ill patients before transportation to a hospital. Current plans are for it to be open seven days a week, day and early evening hours. The owners have agreed to participate in the ECCL Task Force.
With substantial input from Estero residents, Lee County has completed the design of the 65 acre Estero Community Park, has cleared the site of exotic vegetation and in June presented the detailed design of the first phase of the project to the EDRC. The main entrance to the Park will be on the south side of Corkscrew Road midway between Sandy Lane and River Ranch Road.
The centerpiece of the Park is a 41,000 square foot Community/Recreation Center, by far the largest ever constructed by Lee County Parks and Recreation. The back of the Community/Recreation building is an amphitheater fronting on the "central lawn", a large oval capable of seating 2,000 residents for concerts and other events.
On July 27th the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a $10.8 million construction contract with J. L. Wallace Inc. for Phase 1 of the Park. In addition the BOCC approved a loan of $6.7 million from the County's General Fund to help finance Phase 1. The other source of funding for Phase 1 comes from Park Impact Fees paid by purchasers of new homes in Estero and the other areas in our Impact Fee District.
Due to the three Hurricanes experienced by the community the Groundbreaking Ceremony originally scheduled for August 23rd has been postponed until Monday, October 11. Construction of the Park itself has been delayed by the Water Management District's permitting review which is attempting to evaluate the park's drainage system in conjunction with that of Sandy Lane, to be constructed immediately west of the park during the same time frame. Construction was planned to start in September but is now still awaiting the Water District permit. As soon as then permit is approved the contractor is prepared to begin digging the lakes and filling and clearing the land. Phase 1 of the Park is still expected to be completed by December 2005.