FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A project that has been a few years in the making will have its official opening on Tuesday.
After months of renovation, Bayside Park will be open following a special ribbon-cutting ceremony.
It’s one of a few projects currently underway on Fort Myers Beach.
“I was shocked! I didn’t realize they were doing it, but it looks nice!”
“I think it’s cute! It has the little sun shade areas and the turf- I like it.”
Those are just some of the things being said about the new park. Situated on Fort Myers Beach’s First Street, nestled along Snug Harbor, you’ll find the beach’s latest project.
“We’ve walked by it a couple of times but hadn’t really paid attention to it until some of the signs had gone up," says Erica Gehring, who lives on Pine Island and frequents the beach. "It looks great!”
It’s the Fort Myers Beach Bayside Park. And on Tuesday it will be officially open to the public.
"They did keep it under the $1 million mark but the price per square inch, that would be interesting to see those line items just as a resident of Lee County," said Gehring. "I love the development but the price tag- it would be nice to see the breakdown.”
The total cost for the park is $950,000 dollars.
“It gives us something to do, too, on the weekend," says Ashley Gonzalez, with her partner Greg Bell. Together, they live in Fort Myers. "If we have family coming down it’s a little opportunity for an event.”
Bell says he has been visiting Fort Myers Beach since 2003. He says the amount of development the beach has seen through the years has been substantial.
"When I first came down here, Colonial Boulevard was bare," said Bell. "Now it’s from US-41 to I-75 with businesses. It was empty.”
And more developments are on the way. A few on the project list include new streetlights for Estero Boulevard. In February last year, town council approved a contract with Redd Inc. to address longstanding safety and wildlife-friendly lighting concerns.
Another project not to forget- the new Margaritaville Resort which towers above Fifth Street.
“I think it’s going to be too much traffic," said Bell, talking about the new resort. "I think it’s going to create too much of a problem, I think. Some of the businesses over there and people who bought for places they’ve lost their vision of the beach and whatever they were seeing before that. I think that’s tough.”
As some say the new additions to the beach are nice on the surface but, in the long-run, they could result in one or two underlying issues.
"We love our tourist season, we love our jobs, we love everyone coming to Florida and enjoying everything that we enjoy here," says Gehring. "But it would be good to have it in balance and keep it quaint.”
"To me, all of that is great but parking is always the hottest issue," said Bell. "Getting here and parking- finding parking.”
You can read more on the new Bayside Park Project online right here. You can also find a full list of other projects currently underway on Fort Myers Beach here.