In her guest commentary (Guest Commentary: Downtown Redevelopment, Island Sand Paper November 6, 2015) our mayor asks us to think about this important project and tell her our concerns and opinions. I think it is excellent that our mayor wants to know what we think and want for our island while she prepares for the meeting on Nov. 30th, when detailed proposals will be made.
My preliminary thoughts are: This is the gateway to our island – whatever is built must be of high quality design and NOT high-rise. Visitors must be able to see the sea as they come over the bridge.
The developer will wish to build as much as possible and may use the tactic of asking for a very great deal, then giving the appearance of making a concession when he asks for slightly less, so that in the end he gets more than is really warranted.
We must make sure that our island’s Comprehensive Plan is adhered to.
I have heard rumors that a parking garage is planned for 1600 cars. What will an extra 1600 cars do to our traffic – particularly when the high rises on San Carlos Island are built? I think we want day visitors to come by trolley so that they arrive relaxed and in a good mood, rather than irritated and agitated by intolerable traffic jams. Also, at the entrance to parking garages, delays occur while drivers search for the right button to press to get their tickets or aren’t close enough to reach it, etc. while a line of 15 – 20 cars forms behind them. Therefore, the approach to a parking garage should not be straight from a main road.
There are many things to consider and I hope that all FMB residents will let our thoughtful mayor know their thoughts and opinions.
Fort Myers Beach