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City working to keep waters near Legacy Island clean

Posted at 11:17 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 23:19:52-04

FORT MYERS, FLA — There's a little island just off the Edison bridge that you may miss if you're driving by.

But the city of Fort Myers is hoping that by the end of the year, it will be a full-fledged park, complete with ADA-compliant docks, a smoother shoreline, and more.

"It's going to be a destination park but also it's resting or stopping place in the Caloosa Greenway," said Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson.

Its name will be "Legacy Island" and Anderson tells FOX 4 that the project aims to boost water tourism in the area.

"You know you a lot of boat traffic up and down the river," he said.

Up the road, in Fort Myers Beach, an environmental activist tells us that the extra green space is nice, but he has concerns.

"Without clean water, we won't have these tourists that we see out here today," said John Heim of South Florida Clean Water Movement.

Heim adds that the Caloosahatchee River, which Legacy Island sits on, has been going downhill for years.

And he points to another body of water as a major cause of pollution.

"Lake Okeechobee releases into the Caloosahatchee have to stop. They have to stop," he said.

He adds that if the problem isn't reined in people won't want to come to Legacy Island.

Mayor Anderson says the city is working with the Governor and the Army Corp of Engineers to fix that.

"So that's going to get those releases from Lake Okeechobee under control. You know they're building those reservoirs," he said.

But what about local efforts to keep the Caloosahatchee clean?

Well, the mayor says the city is also hiring an independent consultant and changing up how they get rid of recycled water.

"We've started the wastewater transfer project where we will transferring treated wastewater which is currently going into the river. It's permitted. We're going to be transferring that to Cape Coral where they can use that for irrigation," he said.