New Civic Association Forms

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Over 30 residents of both San Carlos and Estero Islands attended the first meeting of what will become a new Civic Association serving both islands.

The meeting, held at Bonita Bill’s conference room on Tuesday night, was facilitated by San Carlos Island resident Charlie Whitehead, who explained that he believes the public needs to have a voice and a platform from which to voice their concerns.

“I saw tonight as being about forming an organization where we can get together, get informed about local issues, and make sure our concerns are heard,” he told the group – who included Pat Smith, a board member from the former Civic Association who agreed to draw up the necessary paperwork for the new association. “I’m hoping to use it to provide a forum for the community to talk about the issues and subjects that impact our lives. Things like the Torgerson proposal, the Main Street proposal, city government, county government, etc. and to develop an association/community voice to share its positions and feelings.”

Nearly all of those gathered had two things on their minds – Torgerson’s proposed Grand Resorts development on Fort Myers Beach and the Bay Harbour development planned for San Carlos Island. Both developments would bring huge changes to what are now small barrier island communities, and the residents were angry because they fear that, once the developments are built, the way of life they’ve known for years will never be the same.

One resident said she’d seen the conceptual drawings on Grand Resorts’ website, grandresortsfmb.com, and they looked like “5th Avenue in Naples”. Still others said they were against the seawall.

Whitehead urged them all to attend two very important meetings this Monday: an 8:30am Lee County Local Planning Agency hearing at the Old Lee County Courthouse in downtown Fort Myers concerning Bay Harbour and a public input meeting on Monday evening from 5:30-7:30 at Chapel By the Sea concerning Grand Resorts.

“Everyone here has expertise in some area,” he said. “Let’s work together to make sure our opinions are heard.”

The next meeting of the proposed Beach Area Civic Association will be held on Wednesday, January 6th at 7pm at Bonita Bill’s.

Keri Hendry Weeg