Midtown Fort Myers – defining the heart of a town
December 7, 2015
Some folks who live in Fort Myers moved here after the River District had been dusted off, spiffed up, rebranded and made to sparkle. Many who visit here for the first time can be heard murmuring to their companions about what a beautiful downtown we have. That’s true. And while we’re proud of our downtown, some days it’s hard to figure out the character of the “town” that it’s the downtown of.
At EnSite, we’re determined to change that. So in partnership with the City of Fort Myers, the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency and the community, we’ve provided a conceptual plan to do some serious revitalization of the area of Fort Myers embraced by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the north, Cleveland Avenue to the west, Evans Avenue to the east, and Edison Avenue to the south.
The beautiful downtown we’ve come to love will in effect be extended, providing opportunities for commerce, recreation and higher density housing. Key points of the Midtown Project include:
- engaging Fort Myers residents in the planning process
- increasing connectivity and walkability
- to that end, rerouting vehicular movement, which will also increase safety
- developing bicycle paths, trails and greenways
- preserving the existing railway corridor for future multi-modal transportation options
- using roundabouts for continuous traffic flow
- improving public transit
- emphasizing mixed-use development for people to live, work and play in place
- establishing forward-thinking parking solutions
- creating interconnected green spaces for public use, including neighborhood and community parks and playgrounds
- responding to preferences and concerns of Millennials (median age in Fort Myers is 35-36)
- organizing future growth in a logical manner, where the area is currently a hodge podge of uses.
This plan has spent a long time gestating. It incorporates recommendations from multiple studies previously completed: the 2013 Lee County Rail Corridor Feasibility Study, the 2013 Downtown Fort Myers Mobility Plan, the Downtown Plan (which identifies redevelopment districts), the 2010 Cleveland Avenue Plan and the 2006 Fort Myers Parks & Open Space Master Plan. It’s time to envision Midtown as a draw for technology and innovation, retail, a farmer’s market with truck vendors, entertainment, recreation, cultural activity, community gardens and much more focused energy that will help further define the “town” it refers to.