The clearing of land has begun for the new North Fort Myers Recreation Center at North Fort Myers Community Park.
Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall has long been campaigning for and a champion of the project.
"I am very excited to have the North Fort Myers Recreation Facility ready to break ground," said Hall. "This has been an objective of the North Fort Myers Civic Association, North Fort Myers Chamber and many residents for a number of years. I want to thank Gregg Makepeace and Jack Howerton from the North Fort Myers Civic Association for working with me to bring this project to a reality for our residents in North Fort Myers and Bayshore."
Gulfcoast Seafood Manager Karan Raby at new location,
710 Pondella Road.
The project is projected to be completed in Spring 2013. The 33,000- square-foot facility will, most importantly to many locals, a hurricane shelter. It will also house a fully equipped gymnasium with basketball and volley ball courts, a fitness center, a computer lab, game room, art studio and several multi-purpose rooms for meetings and classes.
It is modeled after the Estero Recreation Center, said NFM Senior Recreation Specialist James Pittro. Pittro joined the staff of the North Fort Myers Community Center earlier this year, and has experience with large county recreation centers, from Veterans Park in Lehigh Acres.
"I'm excited to be able to bring ideas to the new rec center," he said. "It will be busy. The interest alone in the community even now says a lot."
The new center will be at the front of the park property, directly behind the North Fort Myers Library.
"I think it will also bring light to the park to itself," said fellow NFM Senior Recreation Specialist Jenniffer Valez. "Many people still say they didn't know there is a park behind the library."
A formal groundbreaking, with more details on the amenities of the center, is now being scheduled.
In other park news, officials are now working on the park's most popular event, The Fall Festival.
Always held on the last Friday before Halloween, this year it will be held Friday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m.
"We will be having a haunted hayride, bounce houses, the costume contests with prizes and more," said Valez.
The costume contests always draw large numbers of children in their Halloween best. The annual event draws hundreds.
"We will also have tables by sponsors where they will be handing out free candy, so children can trick or treat at the booths in a safe environment," said Pittro. "We're still looking for sponsors or volunteers."
For information on sponsorships or volunteer opportunities, call 652-4512.