Quality of Life
A performance in front of the Sidney and Berne Davis Cultural Arts Center during Fort Myers’ monthly Art Walk [Photo: Amber Frederiksen]
» Fort Myers’ historic downtown riverfront has undergone about $1 billion in construction projects over the past few years, including extensive streetscaping, burying power lines and numerous renovations, including the conversion of a former federal building to the Sidney and Berne Davis Cultural Arts Center. An Art of the Olympians gallery showcases works created by Olympic athletes. Development just to the north and south of the historic core includes a grocery store and calls for 1,400 new condos in eight towers. A planned next phase of development along the riverfront includes a 200-room waterfront hotel atop a parking garage, improvements to the Harborside Event Center, an 82,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall addition to Harborside on the post office site, several waterfront “signature” restaurant sites, and expansion of Centennial Park.
Art of the Olympians gallery
» Pine Island is the largest island on the west coast of Florida at 17 miles long and 2 miles wide. The island, which does not have a single traffic light, has an abundance of wildlife, including more than 20 pairs of American bald eagles. It’s also a center for organic farming.
» J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge — The 6,400-acre refuge on Sanibel Island is home to more than 220 species of birds.
Kayaking the Blueway Trail
[Photo: Lee County VCB/www.FortMyers-Sanibel.com]
» The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is a non-profit environmental education organization. The center is on 105 acres and has a museum, three nature trails and a planetarium.
• Arts & Leisure
» The award-winning Florida Repertory Theatre produces a variety of comedies, dramas and musicals from October to May at the Arcade Theatre.
» The winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are both primary tourist attractions. The Edison home is complete with a laboratory and botanical gardens and more than 200 phonographs.
» Fort Myers is the spring training home for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. The city hosts the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
» The Lee Civic Center bills itself as the largest indoor/outdoor event complex between Tampa and Miami located on 100 acres in Fort Myers. The civic center is 90,000 square feet and has seating capacity of 7,800.
» Lee County ranks 15th among Florida’s 67 counties in total taxies levied per capita.
» While crime is somewhat higher in Fort Myers, Lee County in 2009 ranked as the 29th-highest among Florida’s 67 counties in crime per 100,000 population.
» K-12: Of the county’s K-12 schools, 60 received A’s, 11 B’s, 14 C’s and 3 D’s. No school received an F from the state in 2009. SAT scores for the county’s high school seniors are on par with the state average: 988 vs. 994 statewide.
» Lee County won the 2010 Sustainable Waste Management in the U.S. award by the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council.
» A $120-million expansion of Lee County’s Solid Waste Resource Recovery Facility received the 2009 Best Practices Award in the Partnership category from Sustainable Florida-Collins Center.