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A park on an island? That's what Fort Myers is doing on Legacy Island

The first phase will be done in July, but money is still needed for the second phase
Posted at 2:04 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 14:04:28-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — While it may not look like much right now, Legacy Island, which sits next to the Edison Bridge, will soon become a public park.

"It does look a little shabby right now," said Nicole Setzer, a city engineer.

Over the next four months, the city will be ramping up work on the island. Recently, they've been doing controlled burns to get rid of some vegetation and downed trees. Setzer says the island has a tendency to erode based on the winds and tides, which is why this part of the project is important.

"We'll be doing some stabilization of the shoreline, creating some sandy protected beach areas, adding vegetation in the form of mangroves on the shoreline to protect the island," Setzer explained.

That's the first phase, with a price tag of $800,000. The city will also add in a walking trail.

The next phase is when you will really see some changes.

In the plan, it includes five boat slips on the west side, an observation deck on the east and pavilions.

"For the city, it's a very unique park," Setzer said.

The idea was to have it done by the end of 2021, as Fox 4 reported nearly three years ago to the day.

Setzer says the city ran into issues with finding barges after Ian, permits, a lawsuit and permission.

"It's been used when the channel of the Caloosahatchee got dredged, so we had to go through the Corps of Engineers to get permission to allow it to become a public park," she explained.

Permits also took some time, which put the project behind.

With all that behind them, it's full speed ahead for phase 1.

"The second phase where there's more structures going on, is just a funding issue," Setzer said.

The roughly one-acre park can still be used after phase 1 is done, but people cannot dock there yet.

It's not clear when and where the money for the next and final phase will come from.

However, the city is confident it will still be able to move forward.

"This is our first park of this nature with an island," Setzer said.