Photo: Chris Griffin
Community leaders are thinking big in North Fort Myers, where a pilot program aims to spur new economic development in parts of the city. Specifically, the project’s aimed at North Fort Myers, where $2 million is currently earmarked to encourage new office, commercial and industrial development. In addition, it’s hoped the funds will translate to more jobs.
Called a mixed-use overlay, this type of incentive is typically aimed at areas in need of more intense residential and commercial development. Leaders saw a real need following the recession when other parts of the county began to improve, but the economy in North Fort Myers did not.
The program reimburses projects after they’re completed at a certain percentage. Grants are considered on a first-come, first-served basis to help with things like demolition, infrastructure improvements and façade improvements.
One key incentive of this particular project is infrastructure, primarily in areas that don’t yet have water and sewer service. Additionally, there is a focus on large buildings and malls, which could provide real destination points for North Fort Myers in the future.
Leaders expect within the next year they’ll start seeing the beginning of new projects and perhaps then actual development will begin. Already, though, the area is hoping to capitalize on at least one new addition that could draw in more people to the area. A new set of floating docks was just added to the Best Western Waterfront, leading up to the 3 Fishermen Seafood Restaurant.
The floating docks are significant because they mean larger boats can more easily dock at the site. While providing a stopping point for boaters, the docks have also transformed the nearby hotel into more of a “botel”, providing an extremely convenient place to dock right outside the actual hotel, opening it up to boating conferences, meetings and more.
As these plans get implemented, the future looks promising for North Fort Myers!