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Bus stop shelters among topics at Planning

April 10, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Construction on Estero Boulevard is going well, with the second phase of construction expected around June 17.

But during the Fort Myers Beach Planning meeting Thursday at Town Hall, an idea that has been percolating made another appearance: bus stop shelters.

Assistant County Manager Doug Meurer told Town Council that segments 3 and 4 would be done by June 2020, and the last two, 5 and 6, completed by 2021.

However, the discussion quickly moved to bus stops. Bruce Butcher said there is a need for bus stop shelters so those waiting for the bus aren't rained upon or standing in intense heat.

The permanent shelters, which are supplied by Lee County, allow for advertisements as a way to help pay for them. Currently, there is a prohibition on advertising on Fort Myers Beach.

Suggestions such as a 10-foot by 10-foot canopy were made, but Mayor Anita Cereceda said the time for talk was over.

"We are not addressing these problems early enough. We have no plan for doing it and when we do, it's too late," Cereceda said.

Shelters were also discussed later in the meeting, with the possibility of putting them on the budget this summer.

Mark Kincade of Coastal Engineering Consulting, also gave a presentation on the update for a mooring field at Matanzas Pass.

The field needs permits from the DEP and Army Corps of Engineers, and the Coast Guard, which should be done in six months. Kincade said the field should be able to accommodate larger boats.

The issue usually becomes amenities, namely, showers, laundry, restrooms and pumping facilities to get bilge and waste out of the boats, which can bring in a higher quality clientele.

The possibility of a structure for the Harbormaster was proposed for Virginia Avenue, with the idea to put everything in the back of town so to not be as disruptive.

Also, there was discussion of the Times Square design, with the main argument being what to do with the Bay Oaks property. It has been suggested that it be used as a drive-in entrance, an idea that Councilmember Joanne Shamp balked at.

"I had a higher aspiration for the land. How can we make it a special place?" Shamp said. "It can be informational."

Town Manager Roger Hernstadt suggested concepts be made for the property with drive-in and non-drive-in uses. Cereceda said she liked the aspirational view from Shamp, saying it could create a hybrid approach.

Among the ideas suggested were to rework the island clock to let people know they are on island time, put uniform umbrellas out to reduce color clutter or perhaps even awnings, and nicer trash cans that are more aesthetically pleasing.

Town elections were also discussed, with momentum gaining on moving the elections from March to November. With elections every three years, the odd-even elections would continue.

However, the date would result in an eight-month longer term for the town council, which would trigger a referendum that the citizens would have to vote on, as it would impact the town charter.

Councilmember Rexann Hosafros said the reasons for holding March elections are no longer valid, and by moving them to November, it would save the town money while end the hassle of going to the polls in heavy traffic.

In a budget discussion, Councilmember Ray Murphy said he would like to see the crosswalks lit at the end of the island, but since the determination for where they will be has not been determined, it is a moot discussion.

Hernstadt said since it has been identified as a priority, he said the town would need to decide upon a top-tier or lesser-cost crosswalk.

 
 

 

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