Historic McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers will get a makeover coming this summer. The city of Fort Myers will repair the road’s worn surface on a two-mile stretch beginning with Colonial Boulevard to Poinciana Avenue, and also replace the sewer drains beneath the roadway. Known as the “Grande Dame” of Fort Myers’ roads, McGregor Boulevard enjoys a rich history in Fort Myers’ lore with residents as varied as legendary inventors, innovators, and Native Americans. During the late 1880s, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone built their winter homes in Fort Myers.
A public works official cites the poor drainage as a possible culprit of the failing road surface. This month, city officials met with the Florida Department of Transportation in a public forum, held at the Edison Banquet Center, to discuss the project. A concern of many citizens attending the public information meeting was the future of the palm trees that are planted along the historic boulevard. An estimated 1,800 palm trees line McGregor Boulevard that were originally planted in the 1920s. City officials reassured the public that the palm trees will remain during the project, and promise to replace any trees that may be damaged as the project gets underway. These majestic Royal Palm trees give Fort Myers its nickname of “The City of Palms” with some palms reaching 75 feet tall.
The project is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation and implemented by the city. Road repair is scheduled to begin over the summer of 2016. City officials also have long-range plans to use the project to control speeding drivers, and add pedestrian crossings. During construction, turn lanes in the middle of the road will ensure two travel lanes remain open. Crews will direct traffic, when necessary. Already pedestrian-friendly, McGregor Boulevard is home to charming cafes and eateries, restored buildings, beach stores and professional office buildings. Notable communities in the McGregor Boulevard corridor featuring stately homes include Edison Park, Gulf Harbour, Palmetto Point, and The Landings.