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East Fort Myers program calling for funding to upgrade facilities

Posted at 10:50 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 22:50:31-04

FORT MYERS, FLA — Wednesday, in an East Fort Myers after-school program, a group of six kids learned about nutrition.

The lesson was part of an afterschool program at Billy Bowlegs Park and one of many services provided to the community at that location.

Community advocate Gerri Ware says the goal is to give these kids a different path.

"We provide so many children with tutoring, encouraging them to not be a part of the prison system. Trying to be preventative," she said.

The group attending today's lesson was able to fit comfortably in the portables the group is currently using.

But come summer, Ware says they'll have hundreds of kids looking for something to do.

"This building will not facilitate 200 kids," she said.

To help accommodate the need, they have a plan to expand and build a multipurpose recreational building on the land.

Ware says that plan requires several million dollars and city funding to help get it done, but she adds that negotiations to get that city money haven't gotten them results just yet.

She's now calling on the city to set aside some of its budget for that project.

"This is a part of the STARS [program], the STARS [program] over there on Edison was brought to us 30 years ago by the mayor at that time. It has taken us 30 years to get another facility in this community."

And Fort Myers mayor Kevin Anderson agrees.

"The east part of the city has been neglected," he said.

It's a conversation that he says may come up at Thursday's budget hearing.

"I can't say for sure whether or not it will come up tomorrow and to what extent it will be a conversation. But this is definitely something on my radar to discuss with the city manager," he said.

Tomorrow the budget starts Thursday, August 26, at 9 a.m.

As for Ware, she says this project is just the start. She's also for other fixtures in the black community to get some more city funding.