Published: Apr 22, 2010 7:43 PM EDT

Here we go again.  Fort Myers is pushing ahead with a new plan to revitalize the downtown riverfront, and hopefully bring in a major hotel and new shops nad restaurants.

"I am very optimistic that this is going to happen," said Don Paight of the plans to build a basin, to extend the Caloosahatchee river into the edge of the downtown business district.   "This is a way to create excitement and to keep the riverfront itself open for public access.   We want to press ahead, we have been told:  do not let this just sit on the shelf!"

The idea is to use the basin as a lure to attract a major, 200 to 220 room hotel.

"I worry about water quality.  We already have problems in the river, and I don't see that this basin is going to help the quality much," said Marti Daltry, who serves on the board of directors of the group, "Riverwatch".     "I don't see this a being a good thing for the environment."

The first phase would cost 19.4 million dollars, to be paid through grants and tax increment financing, not property taxes.

The phase one would be done in 3 years, according to Paight.

Ruth Ann Yeomans of Blake's Barbershop told WINK:   "It sounds like a humongous, imaginary project!   But people I respect are getting behind it, so who knows?   I have seen many plans in my 30 years downtown, so I will be patient with this.   Nothing's going to happen overnight or tomorrow!"