FORT MYERS, Fla. — A $1 million renovation project is coming to Centennial Park, after receiving the funds from the Florida State Legislature the city says October 5 is when renovations will begin, adding a new playground and more amenities to a 30-year-old facility.
However, many in the community say they feel left out of the decision-making process including Connie Bennett Martin who says the city needs to communicate much better.
“Let us know, put that transparency there, let us know what is happening, and let us be apart of the decision making if we’re not part of the city's decision making then we are not apart of the solution,” said Connie Bennett Martin, Candidate running for Fort Myers City Council, Ward 4.
Paige Rousch a lifelong resident says, her concern is where people experiencing homelessness will go once the park becomes a construction site.
“They are probably going to be unable to have this group that’s assembled here and has decided to call it home. I don’t know that there is a plan that’s genuinely in place yet that is going to answer their needs,” said Paige Rousch.
One man struggling with homelessness told me he’s excited about the new park, but he’s afraid about what's next.
“We have no place to go, what are we going to do, pick another park? What can we do?, There is no place to go,” said Rambo.
Former City Councilman Liston Bochette says, this project is wonderful and the community should be very excited about it.
“It’s going to have disability equipment for children, it’s a major major upgrade, it’s been on the books, it’s been written about, it’s now happening we’re delighted it’s happening,” said Liston Bochette.
However, Bochette agrees that better communication to the public would have helped people feel better about the project.
“We’ve got a good city, we’ve got a good working staff but we don’t do a good job of letting the public know what’s going on. Let’s get that big sign up there every time we do a project, this is what is coming next and we will be focusing our energies on other things,” said Bochette.
At this time the city says the new renovations will begin October 5 and should be completed in spring 2021.