New park in Lehigh blossoms where defunct golf course once was

CREATED Dec. 12, 2013 - UPDATED: Dec. 13, 2013

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 LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - Eye sore no more, a rundown golf course in Lehigh Acres gets an extreme makeover and is open to the public.

The new park spans 11 acres and replaces a defunct plot of land that was a golf course that fell into disrepair during the last recession.

Lee Co. Commissioner Frank Mann says this new park is the first of many investments the county plans to make in the area.

“This is just another indication of the focus that the Lee County Commission has put on Lehigh Acres,” said Commissioner Mann.

The park features a beautiful landscape with more than 18,000 native grasses and wildflowers, a half-mile trail, picnic pavilions and an outdoor fitness area.

Lee Co. Parks and Recreation Director Dave Harner says functionality was key when building the park.

“It's a unique park because it's surrounded closely by a neighborhood,” said Harner, “That was our goal behind this, not only an environmentally friendly park, but a friendly park to our community."

Dozens of people came to the park to get a first look, just minutes after the ribbon cutting.

After taking a quick stroll around, longtime Lehigh resident Paulette Henry says she likes what she sees.

“Now I have a place that I can walk and relax and not have to be watching out for the traffic as I used to,” said Paulette Henry.

Others concerned about safety say they feel secure in the new park.

“I feel totally safe here and I will definitely use this park for walking,” said Christine Graf.

The new park was paid for without any taxpayer dollars says the Lee Co. Commission. We’re told a $126,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and “impact fees” from the community financed the park.