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Lani Kai offers to build overhead pedestrian bridge

Posted at 6:42 PM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 18:42:25-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla -- The owner of a popular Fort Myers Beach hotel offered to construct an overhead pedestrian bridge in the town, Thursday, to help alleviate traffic.

Bob Conidaris, who has owned the Lani Kai Island Resort on Estero Boulevard for more than 40 years, explained the island needs a concrete overpass, equipped with elevators on either side, near the base of the Matanzas Pass bridge to help ease traffic. He expects more traffic after construction of a new Margaritaville Resort in that area. "It's going to get worse. Parking is going to get worse. Things have changed on Fort Myers Beach," Conidaris said.

The Margaritaville Resort plans to build an overpass on Estero Boulevard, too, which it says will be accessible to everyone. However, Mr. Conidaris believes that bridge only serves one purpose: to herd more customers to Margaritaville. "It moves traffic so it only goes to them," he said.

Conidaris, who has been in the contracting business for over 60 years, is willing to build a pedestrian overpass bridge at the first crosswalk off the Matanzas Pass Bridge on Estero Boulevard. He said he would fund the whole project with his own money, even though the Lani Kai is blocks away. "I'll pay for the whole thing. It's my thank you to the town for (us) being here for so many years," he said.

The project would need approval from Lee County. The County currently owns the land Conidaris wants to build the bridge on.

Lee County said they have not had any discussions about the matter yet. The Fort Myers Beach Town Manager said he has not received any applications for permits either.

Mr. Conidaris said he wants to gather support, and apply for those permits as soon as possible. He tells 4 In Your Corner the bridge would be dedicated to his late wife, Grace. "She loved it here," he said. "I will never forget that. This is all for my wife."