September 30, 2014

Community Portrait

Fort Myers and Cape Coral

| 11/1/2010

Tourism

» Along with coastal tourism on Sanibel and the beaches, the Caloosahatchee, which flows through the county, provides recreational opportunities. The winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in Fort Myers continue to be big draws, along with Boston Red Sox’s and Twins’ spring training games. Tourism officials say Lee County attracts an affluent tourist with an average income of more than $100,000. South Seas, a resort and call center operator, is a major employer.

Fort Myers spring-training
Fort Myers has been the spring-training home of the Boston Red Sox since 1993. The Minnesota Twins also hold spring training in Fort Myers.

Education

» Florida Gulf Coast University, the state’s newest university, is staking out a position in promoting clean energy. The university has a 15-acre, $14-million solar power field that can generate up to 2 megawatts of electricity. It employs 500 faculty and has about 10,000 students. In addition, a number of other public and private schools operate in the area:

Florida Gulf Coast University
About 10,000 students attend Florida Gulf Coast University.

» Edison State College: 15,000 students and four campuses in the region

» Hodges University: 2,700

» Southwest Florida College: 1,771

» Nova Southeastern University: 722

» Barry University: 527

» Rasmussen College: 500

» ITT Technical Institute: 250-350

» Keiser University: 100

Development

» The home building industry has been devastated by the real estate bust and continues to struggle. Some speculative building has resumed in pockets, however. Major home builders WCI and the Bonita Bay Group still have a big presence in both Lee and Collier counties. And the Shell Point Retirement Community, the largest Continuing Care Retirement Community in southwest Florida with almost 2,000 residents and more than 650 employees, plans to double its resident population within a decade.

Shell Point
Shell Point Retirement Community

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Comic-book and gaming stores are expanding across Florida. The state's major comic & video game themed conventions continue to generate increased interest and revenue. What's your level of participation in the world of comics & gaming?

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