Affordable housing is headed to a Fort Myers community. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson is talking about the details in this week’s “A Minute with the Mayor,” a segment where Fox 4 track’s the mayor’s first hundred days in office. He tells Fox 4’s Rachel Loyd how a new development of townhomes could help people living in East Fort Myers.
Rachel: This week we’re talking about housing in the City of Fort Myers. I know just this Tuesday, council passed a development for the Dunbar community. I think it’s 140 units going in. Just talk to me about why it’s so important to develop in that part of the city.
Mayor Anderson: It’s important in all parts, but specifically in that part of the city, because that’s where you have some of the lowest incomes. It’s important that we have housing that is attainable. For some people it will be homeownership. For others it will be renting. But, the goal is to have affordable housing that is decent, livable.
Rachel: That segways to a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds. Considering the Dunbar community, I know Jones Walker - we did a lot of stories about that - seeing that. Seeing how people were living there. How will this new development be different than the Jones Walker complex?
Mayor Anderson: When people own, there’s a tendency to take care of things, because if you don’t, then it’s coming out of your pocket to get them repaired. When you’re renting, a lot of times it’s like well, the landlord’s going to take care of it. Home ownership usually creates some pride in where you’re living.
Rachel: And then you also talked about going into your first 100 days as mayor - you talked about having housing committee. Well, not a committee - you wanted to put a task force together. Where are you in that process?
Mayor Anderson: I am finalizing that list. I think I have one more person to meet with.
Rachel: You mentioned that a lot of people who work in the City of Fort Myers may not live in the City of Fort Myers. Moving forward what other areas of the city do you see the city developing?
Mayor Anderson: We just opened up the Hanson Street Extension, which is an industrial area. Another focus is going to be economic development. How do we attract businesses that are fleeing other parts of the country? Fleeing the high taxes, the cold weather, the traffic, the crime. If we can attract economic development that brings better paying jobs. We bring, as I mentioned, we have the highest percent of our population in this area are people who earn less than $35,000 a year. If we can bring - raise that up, then housing becomes a little more affordable.
A spokesperson for the East Fort Myers project says people looking to live there could receive downpayment support and mortgage subsidies. What would you like to ask the mayor? email your questions to email@example.com