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NFM Renaissance holds sequel cocktail party

June 7, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

In October 2015, the Dolphin Room at the Shell Factory held a North Fort Myers Renaissance luncheon to celebrate the county's decision to fund a market study.

On Friday, at the same location, they held the sequel to that event to discuss the results of that report and what to do next.

Mainly, the idea the North Fort Myers Civic Association had was to get together with the community and its members for a cocktail party. Indeed, there was food, drink and music enjoyed by the dozens who attended.

Article Photos

North Fort Myers Civic Association president Michael Land shows the promotional map of the area at the North Fort Myers Renaissance: Step II cocktail party at the Shell Factory’s Dolphin Room on Friday. Land was able to sell the available advertising on the map.

CHUCK?BALLARO

But they also came to hear about what the civic association was doing and to discuss where the area goes from here after the market assessment report, which was finally completed early this year after numerous delays.

Rachel Busch, strategic projects manager for the Lee County Economic Development Office, served as main speaker. She discussed the results of that study, the recommendations made for the area, and how Lee County plans to address those recommendations.

Michael Land, president of the civic association, had a very productive talk. Not only did he discuss the goings on with the group, but was able to sell out the remaining spots on the promotional map of North Fort Myers on behalf of map creator Rudy Berndlmeier, who was absent for medical reasons.

Land was also able to secure $600 in seed money for the new Cultural Arts committee for them to find a place to house itself until the new library comes into being.

Busch told residents that the area won't become a retail hub because of the lack of income from residents. However, it could become a place where office-style business can thrive.

For that, Busch presented 13 recommendations for the county to work on, from short-term to long-term.

Among the short-term ideas were increased code enforcement, forming a study area property owner's coalition, a revitalization online resource and allowing for temporary uses.

Longer-term ideas include flexible zoning, street-grid connections, mass transit options, neighborhood stabilization and upgrade, Infrastructure capability assessment, branding and image building, forming a non-profit development organization and assemblage strategies, and incentives for investment.

Land said he was happy with the way things went, though he wished things had gone a lot quicker. The delay in the study and Land's car accident only hours after that October 2015 luncheon had something to do with it.

"I think everyone enjoyed it. The discussions were all enthusiastic and I think it's a step forward in the renaissance of North Fort Myers," Land said. "I was very happy to see that map sell out and the seed money to get the cultural center off the ground."

 
 

 

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