FORT MYERS, Fla. — If you've driven over the Edison or Caloosahatchee bridges recently, you might have noticed Lofton Island looks a little bare.
The three acres were recently cleared of a significant amount of its vegetation, which lead to concerns about how that move impacts the environment.
FOX 4 spoke with Nils Richter of Lofton Island Partners, LLC.
He says the group consulted with an ecologist to ensure that responsible decisions were made to protect the island.
“These Australian pines might look nice from a distance, but they’re not a native tree. Therefore, in hurricanes there were a lot of down trees and a lot of damage on there. So we took all of those out, and there was very little native vegetation. And what’s there, we kept.”
Richter says the plants that remain on the island are native species, including mangroves and palms.
The group purchased the land in 2020 for $800,000, he tells FOX 4.
What comes next for the island?
We'll have to wait and see.
Richter says Lofton Island Partners, LLC. is still working to finalize the future of the land.
But, he says they do plan to keep it open to the pubic.
“We want to make it an amenity to downtown in any form or fashion. Something like e day getaway. Instead of having to drive to Fort Myers Beach, you can probably take a little free ferry that we’re going to put in place, and then enjoy like a day or something on the island.
We’ll come with something cool," Richter says.
Richter is a Lofton Island Partners, LLC., alongside two other area owners:
Steve Israel, Partner: a longtime investor in the Southwest Florida community. Israel owns multiple properties in downtown Fort Myers, including the Kress and Dean Building.
Rick Arenas, Partner: local business owner. Arenas is the owner of BLU Sushi on First Street.