Projects Around Town
The Town of Fort Myers Beach took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. This storm created catastrophic damage as a category five hurricane. Recovery from this storm has halted or delayed some of the projects that are described on this page. To keep up on project status, watch the Town's Facebook and Twitter pages, council and committee meetings on YouTube, and the news module on the homepage of this website.
STATUS OF TOWN FACILITIES November 2023
Hurricane Ian damaged or destroyed most all Town facilities. Mound House is the lone Town facility that was able to be restored quickly and is fully operational, except for the underground shell mound display. Visit www.moundhouse.org. Newton Beach Park and the historic cottage were completely washed away and the lot is being used for the emergency berm and beach renourishment projects. Bay Oaks was used as an island-wide debris storage site for seven months after Ian. The gym building survived relatively well though it took on several feet of water. Plans to restore Bay Oaks are in process, and funding is being sought. The Little League ball field at Bay Oaks has been restored thanks to donations from Major League Baseball (MLB) and Schott's Lawn Care, as well as 7-11 and various community members. Town Hall was damaged beyond repair and the State of Florida demolished it in August 2023. Preliminary discussion about rebuilding Town Hall have taken place. Meanwhile, plans are to move Town Hall operations from temporary modular trailers on the property next to the Town Hall empty lot to more permanent modulars on the grounds of Bay Oaks. Bayside Park was mostly destroyed though the band shell remained and the park was restored in time for the Town's one-year remembrance events held on September 28, 2023, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Florida Disaster Fund.
* Denotes projects that are complete
Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Redevelopment
As of August 2023, plans are underway to redevelop Bayside Park after it was damaged by Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022.
Plans to redevelop the nearly 15-acre Bay Oaks Recreational Campus at 2731 Oak Street have been under discussion by Town Council and the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Advisory Board (BORCAB) since 2018, with several opportunities for community input. DRMP, Inc., was contracted by Town Council as the design firm.
The redevelopment is planned to include a new building for a variety of youth and adult programs and activities, an amphitheater, and welcome center, along with space for multiple uses and other new recreational amenities. Redevelopment of the grounds are to include large and small ball fields with lighting, improved entrance and exit for pedestrians and vehicles, revamped walking trail, and outdoor basketball, pickleball and tennis courts. Space for a future active recreation facility and a standalone amphitheater is also included in site plans for the grounds.
This project is being conducted in partnership with improvements to two other iconic areas of FMB - Bayside Park and Times Square. In November 2020, Town Councilors finalized a $10 million loan secured through First Florida Integrity Bank to fund all three projects. Council approved the loan with the understanding that grants would be sought to contribute to the cost of these three large projects.
In November 2021, the Town was notified that it had received a $1 million federal grant from the National Park Service (NPS) - Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for the Bay Oaks project. The LWCF provides funding to the federal agencies and the states. In the State of Florida, NPS/LWCF partners with the Department of Environmental Protection - Division of State Lands and its Land and Recreation Grants Program. The funding will be available starting January 1, 2022, and is predicated by a match from the Town.
In January 2022, preliminary work on the redevelopment was completed for Beach Elementary School, which adjoins the Bay Oaks Campus. The Town paved a parking lot and installed a parking canopy, sidewalks and a basketball court for the school. Playground equipment will be installed this summer. This work is in exchange for the Lee County School District giving a piece of unused land to the Town for the redevelopment.
In March 2022, ground preparation began on the empty parcel of property on Estero Boulevard for construction of the new entrance to Bay Oaks. The parcel will include a driveway, sidewalks, and a national fitness court and is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.
- Bay Oaks project handout January 2022
- 90% Site Plans January 2022:
- Draft overview design November 2021
- Town Council and BORCAB discussion January 11, 2021
Aerial of Bay Oaks prior to September 28, 2022, when Hurricane Ian hit and Bay Oaks became a debris storage site for seven months.
Bayside Park Redesign
The redevelopment of Bayside Park was completed in August 2022 and a ribbon cutting was held to officially open the new park. On September 28, 2022, the brand new park was destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Rebuilding of the park began in August of 2023 and was complete by September 28, 2023, in time for one-year remembrance events to be held there. The Florida Disaster Fund that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis set up to aid in the State's recovery from Hurricane Ian provided $500,000 to restore the park.
New features of the park include a covered platform for entertainers to perform, shade sails in the colors of the Town's new logo, palm trees, stone walls for seating, artificial turf, a water fountain, a fillable water station, and palm trees.
The park also has a rain garden in the front that is flexible space that could be used for a veterans tribute. Input on the veterans tribute is in process by community members and veterans.
Redevelopment plans for Bayside Park had been under discussion since 2019 by Town Council. The park is near the downtown area of Fort Myers Beach in a residential and commercial area on the bay at the end of Old San Carlos Boulevard. The design firm DRMP, Inc., was contracted by Town Council in 2019 to design improvements to the park.
Designs underwent several revisions based on feedback from Town Council and community members. Town Council voted to approve the design that was presented by DRMP in January of 2021.
In November 2021, authorization was given by Town Council to the Town Manager to execute contract documents with Wright Construction to perform the redevelopment work. Estimated construction costs are $885,346 including a contingency of $44,267.30.
The project officially began in January 2022 when the Public Works Department started removing the shade structure and all pavers. The pavers were pressure washed and re-used.
This project is the first of three large redevelopment projects to be completed by the Town. Improvements to two other iconic areas of FMB - Bay Oaks Recreational Campus and Times Square - are in various stages of planning. Expected completion for the two remaining projects is 2024.
In November 2020, Town Councilors finalized a $10 million loan secured through First Florida Integrity Bank to fund all three projects. Council approved the loan with the understanding that grants would be sought to contribute to the cost of these three large projects.
Big Carlos Pass Bridge Project by Lee County
The Lee County Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning improvements to the Big Carlos Pass Bridge on Estero Boulevard (County Road 865) on the south end of the Town/Estero Island.
Connecticut Street Sidewalks *
The Florida Department of Transportation started a project in the Fall of 2020 to construct sidewalk and drainage on the east side of Connecticut Street from Estero Boulevard to Shell Mound Boulevard. This project was completed in March of 2021.
Estero Boulevard improvement project - reFresh Estero Boulevard *
Since 2007, the Lee County Department of Transportation and the Town of Fort Myers Beach have been working together to first develop plans and then reconstruct Estero Boulevard from Crescent Street to Big Carlos Pass. The two major goals of this project have been to improve safety for ALL users (motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians), and improve drainage on Estero Boulevard. Work on this project began in earnest in 2014 and was complete in March of 2022.
Estero Boulevard lighting project
The need for lighting on Estero Boulevard took a turn when Hurricane Ian hit on September 28, 2022. In June of 2023, FP&L completed and paid for temporary street lighting on Estero Boulevard that is turtle safe, though darker than many had hoped.
On February 16, 2021, Town Council approved a $185,000 contract with REDD, Inc., DBA Town Lighting Engineers, to address longstanding safety and wildlife-friendly lighting concerns on Estero Boulevard. FPL representatives also attended that meeting to help Town Councilors understand the level of support that can be expected from FPL for this project.
- Watch the stakeholder group kickoff meeting from Wednesday, March 24, 2021
- Watch the stakeholder group's second meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021
- Watch REDD, Inc.'s presentation to the Public Safety Committee on May 18, 2021
- YouTube Video Read about the Town's need to balance safety lighting with turtle-safe lighting.
- Read the stakeholder feedback report from REDD, Inc., June 7 2021
- Watch June 9 Town Council Management and Planning session that includes update from REDD, Inc. (Presentation starts at 22 minutes:33 seconds.)
- Lighting recommendations draft document presented at joint meeting of the Public Safety Committee/Marine Resources Task Force, July 26, 2021
- Joint meeting of Public Safety Committee/Marine Resources Task Force July 26, 2021
- Town Lighting Engineers presentation to Town Council at the September 16, 2021, Management and Planning session
- Watch the Town Lighting Engineers' presentation to Town Council at the September 16, 2021, Management and Planning session (Presentation starts at 43 minutes:41 seconds)
- Town Council's Resolution on October 7, 2021, to require amber lighting along Estero Boulevard
Estero Island Shore Protection Project (beach renourishment)
April 2023: An emergency berm project was begun to restore sand to the beach that was damaged by Hurricane Ian. It was managed in partnership with FWC, FDEP, and Turtle Time to protect nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. Visit www.fmbgov.com/beach for more information. The beach renourishment project that had been in the works before Ian is set to follow the berm project.
This project is to restore about six and a half miles along Estero Island of critically eroding Gulf shoreline and provide long-term maintenance and nourishment. It is to be completed in partnership with the Town, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and the Lee County Tourist Development Council (TDC.). The project is in the planning and permitting stages with field work expected to start in 2023. Once field work begins it is expected to take about eight months to complete.
- Project overview
- Presentation to Town Council by Coastal Engineering October 18, 2021
- Presentation to Town Council by Coastal Engineering March 21, 2022
- Press release - FDEP review of critically eroding beach designation June 22, 2022
TPI Hospitality is in the process of building a Margaritaville Resort on Estero Boulevard in the downtown district of Fort Myers Beach. A groundbreaking was held on August 13, 2021. The Margaritaville construction site weathered Ian relatively well. Construction started back up quickly after the site was cleared of debris and a small amount of damage from Ian. Grand opening is expected in the first part of 2023.
- Keep up on the progress of construction on the TPI-Fort Myers Beach Facebook page
- Watch a video of the design of the resort
- Town action related to Margaritaville
Matanzas Pass Bridge base traffic and landscaping
This project is moving forward. It was slightly delayed by the hurricane but otherwise able to resume relatively quickly. Lee County Government is planning improvements to streets, stoplights, traffic flows, and landscaping at the base of the Matanzas Pass Bridge on the north end of Estero Island. Federal Department of Transportation (FDOT) funding will be used for this project. County officials briefed Town Council on a couple occasions in 2020 with preliminary designs expected in 2021. Public hearings and the bidding process will follow with construction expected to begin in 2022.
- FDOT Public Hearing on February 3, 2022
- FDOT project description
- FDOT newsletter article March 2020
- Presentation by Lee County officials to town Council on October 19, 2020
- Presentation by Lee County officials to Town Council on March 2, 2020.
- Seafarer's alternative rendering presented by Lee County and adopted by Town Council on March 2, 2020
- Watch an update given to Town Council on September 16, 2021, by Florida Department of Transportation officials (Presentation starts at 9 minutes:6 seconds)
Matanzas Pass Mooring Field Upgrade*
Completed in January of 2023, this upgrade provided an additional 19 moorings west of Matanzas Pass Bridge which will accommodate vessels up to 85 feet in length. These moorings added to the Town's current 70 bringing the total for the entire Mooring Field to 89. The field remains closed to visitors due to damage sustained by Hurricane Ian but the new moorings on the west side of the bridge are open for WET STORAGE ONLY. The closure of the field due to the hurricane actually helped the new moorings to be added.
The Town is responsible to apply for and obtain all permits and funding authorizations for the proposed expansion, and for selecting the contractor and construction oversight. Numerous state and federal agencies are involved in this process, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC.)
This permitting and funding authorization process began in 2020 and is expected to take several months. The bidding process for a contractor to perform the work will follow. Once a contractor has been selected, construction is expected to take about six weeks.
Starting October 1, 2021, administrative management of services for Matanzas Pass Mooring Field changed from Estero Bay Hotel Company dba Matanzas Inn to Town staff. Town staff manage the administrative functions of the Mooring Field from leased office space (Unit G109) in Harbour House at 450 Old San Carlos Boulevard. The office and upland services facilities are within easy walking distance of the dinghy dock used by the Mooring Field guests in the Downtown District. Matanzas Inn continues to provide and maintain restroom, dock, trash, water and laundry facilities.
This change in management of services came about after several months of discussion and planning by Town Councilors, Town staff and members of the Anchorage Advisory Committee about the future expansion and management of Mooring Field. Town Councilors authorized the change at the August 2, 2021, Town Council meeting by approving a modified lease agreement with Matanzas Inn. This action provides for continuity of services while the Town explores options for the future.
In March 2022, the Town purchased a half acre of land on a canal directly behind Town Hall. One option for its use would be to build an upland services facility for Mooring Field, though the land could be used for other purposes that Town Council deems appropriate. The land purchase fits with the Town's Comprehensive Plan as it states that the Town should acquire property to perform the functions of a municipality and to also acquire waterfront property.
Traffic signal at intersection of San Carlos and Estero Boulevards *
A new traffic signal at the intersection of San Carlos and Estero Boulevards was installed in the Downtown District in November 2021. Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, LLC, was contracted by the Town to complete the work. The Local Agency Program (LAP) through the Florida Department of Transportation was the funding source for this project that cost approximately $776,511. This was the Town's first project using LAP funding. LAP certification was acquired by the Town in 2020.
Times Square Redesign
Waterline replacement project "reFresh Estero Boulevard" *
The reFresh waterlines program replaced existing water mains with a new and more efficient water main system. Work on this project began in 2014 and was complete in March of 2022.