LPA approves five-year $18M capital plan
The Town of Fort Myers Beach Local Planning Agency (LPA) approved a five-year capital improvement plan presented to them this month with more than $18 million in projects as presented by town planner Jason Green. The projects range from those the town council has begun work on to those the council would still need to take action.
More than $16 million of the funding has been identified as unfunded while more than $2 million has funding that has been set aside, according to the plan.
The funded projects include more than $800,000 from town impact fees for sidewalk construction work downtown, $360,000 from a grant for a light at the intersection of Old San Carlos Boulevard and Estero Boulevard, and $255,000 for the design and construction of Bay Oaks ball field lights.
The funded part of the plan also includes $120,600 for an additional 19 mooring systems at the town’s mooring field from general revenue. The town board has approved spending $87,000 with Bonita Springs-based Coastal Engineering Consultants for mooring field replacement.
Other unfunded projects listed are an estimated $3.46 million for Times Square remodeling which is currently in the hands of design consultants DRMP. The firm was awarded a $367,780 contract to design renovations of Times Square.
An estimate of $5.4 million for redevelopment of Bay Oaks Recreational Campus is listed in the plan as unfunded and requiring borrowing. The Bayside Park project has a $1 million price tag. An estimated cost of $6 million has been cited for beach nourishment.
Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt said the beach nourishment would be funded with county tourism dollars if approved. The other cost estimates are for projects the town board has already begun funding design plans for though they will still need to approve the plans and construction. The bulk of the unfunded projects weren’t topics of conservation by the LPA, aside from the funding for the mooring field.
LPA member Dan Hughes asked Green how the plan was put together. “I don’t feel real comfortable approving something that I really don’t have any personal knowledge of. There are so many items here,” Hughes said.
Green said the five-year-plan is a critical part of the town’s efforts to manage and monitor the progress of capital projects. “Every year the LPA is responsible for evaluating and making a recommendation of adoption of a capital improvement plan,” Green told the agency members. “Your role as an LPA is related to growth management essentially in a nutshell. It’s oversight and input on the comprehensive plan and the land development code.”
Discussion regarding the projects revolved mainly around swale reclamation listed under stormwater utility projects and drainage work that the LPA supported. The LPA meeting was held virtually by the committee from their homes and had a number of technical issues.
LPA chair Megan Heil announced that LPA member Tim Smith would be resigning his seat on the board and that the June meeting was his last. Smith’s replacement will be the third new member of the advisory committee after former LPA members Dan Allers and Jim Atterholt were elected to the town council.
Comprehensive plan update
Green told the agency members that the town will also be moving forward on updating its comprehensive plan by utilizing a planning consultant. Green said a selection committee ranked the consultants who submitted proposals to the town. Heil said the planning consultant should have to make presentation before being approved. “They should come in and they should do a presentation,” Heil said.
The town board approved the selection committee’s choice of The Corradino Group, who are based out of Miami, to do the revisions to the comprehensive plan and land development code. The town board’s actions will allow Town Manager Roger Hernstadt to enter into negotiations with the company. There were two other consultants who made proposals to the town to handle the comprehensive plan updates, including Tampa-based Tindale Oliver and Fort Myers-based Spikowski Planning Associates.