By: Christine Ross, MBA, MS, IOM, President & CEO, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director, Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council
Old 41 in the center of Bonita Springs is both lovely and lush and blessed with a wide swath of the Imperial River running through it. On Wednesday July 15, 2015, the Bonita Springs City Council did the right thing by voting to sign the construction contract to move forward with the $15.6 million Old 41 Redevelopment Project which is long overdue. In fact, the current City Council started the ball rolling over three years ago just to get Lee County Leadership on board with the unique tax increment financing formula that will help pay for it. Sometimes leaders get nervous and try to change course mid-stream but I am so glad to tell you that this did not sway the believers who voted yes. They are determined to get this redevelopment project off the ground and to completion in twenty-four months so this part of the City will not once again be passed by.
If you aren’t familiar with the area, this project has been talked and dreamed about for more than fifteen years. It encompasses 1,500 acres along Old 41, from Terry Street to Oak Creek Bridge and east for a block along Felts Avenue. It will provide for a comprehensive storm water management solution smartly hidden underneath attractive permeable pavers that will provide much needed street side parking. Also included are two traffic-calming roundabouts, one at the most dangerous intersection in all of Lee County, Terry and Old 41, improving safety. Trees will be planted in the medians and the utilities will be relocated underground.
With these efforts we will also see additional sidewalks wide enough for families, joggers and bikers to coexist and streetscape in keeping with our lovely lush surroundings. They hired talented local professionals who know what they are doing and the design really shows it. Bravo to the City leaders for staying true to the residents who’ve waited many years to see this part of our city embraced and rehabilitated. Everyone will benefit from a more beautiful, accessible and safe environment for families, property owners and our residents.