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FORT MYERS | New push to economically strengthen Fowler and Dunbar?

Posted at 6:53 PM, Nov 01, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As Fort Myers is in the middle of major construction for housing complexes, especially at Southward Village and at the old News-Press Site, the question lingers—which businesses will follow?

Fox 4's Briana Brownlee spoke with Councilwoman Teresa Watkins Brown (Ward 1) before the Wednesday Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting, where the group will discuss making surrounding areas of Downtown Fort Myers financially stronger.

Councilwoman Watkins Brown

Dunbar, Fowler and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd are three notable areas in the city of Palms, but the city is noticing these areas are going undeserved.

“As you know, closer to the Dunbar community we don’t have all of the amenities like an actual grocery store or a pharmacy," Councilwoman Watkins Brown said.

With more people to serve, this could mean more areas to cover and to encourage more operators to open in the area, but that could require another step.

"Extending the boundaries of the Downtown CRA would assist in doing more things economically," councilwoman Watkins Brown said.

Meaning if the Downtown CRA extends to surrounding areas, more incentives would get offered to developers to open.

Councilwoman Watkins Brown said she sees the "Blight" in these communities and this extension wouldn't just be a boost for new businesses either.

“I know you’ve been down Fowler, to try and give some assistance to businesses,” Councilwoman Watkins Brown said. “It’s also to give businesses that are already there the opportunity to be able to participate in our grants."

As of now this is only in the discussion stage and the board hasn't voted.

This conversation is happening as the Fort Myers Housing Authority is getting closer to a critical step for their Greater Dunbar initiative, the city's biggest project in years.
The Housing Authority said once that project is complete it should have better housing and hopefully a grocery store.