Candidate Guest Opinion: Bruce Butcher

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Downtown redevelopment is a good idea.

As a town, we must look to the future, not to the past for the direction of Fort Myers Beach. As a town we must move forward with an open mind. Our new Town Council must do more to educate the residents about all of the hurdles that any plan will have to jump through, before final approval by Fort Myers Beach. There are many Local, County, State and Federal Agencies that are likely to need to approve the plan before it can possibly move forward. This will not be an overnight process; in fact it is likely to take more than year before a final plan will be up for town council approval.

There is no need for a rush to judgement on downtown redevelopment. After the developer finally submits an actual plan, it is the job of the town council, not the developer to meet with residents, explain what has actually been applied for and seek public input, about what is good for our residents and what does not work.

There is no need for local government, or our residents to have knee-jerk reactions as to whether this is a good idea, or what it will actually involve. It will be the job of the newly elected council to insure that common ground can be found. Any redevelopment must be good for the residents, protect our quality of life while expanding economic opportunities for local businesses and enhancing the lives of all residents. At the same time we will have to insure that the final project works for the developer as well.

I have a tremendous amount of business management experience on many levels, I care about our life on our island, so I believe that common ground can be found and we can all benefit from some form of downtown redevelopment. I also believe that it is irresponsible of any candidate or government to support or reject any new project as an instant reaction. We all need to take a breath and begin the real process so we can move to the future, rationally and make our island a better place to live and play.

Bruce Butcher

Candidate for Town Council

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