PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - For people who live or work in Port Charlotte's Medical District, getting around on foot isn't always a walk in the park. "There is a lack of sidewalks and as you can see the sidewalks aren't very smooth either, so I am always looking down, watching where I am walking," Pam Greve of Port Charlotte said.
Homeowners have watched property values deteriorate. "More people that work in the hospitals and all the medical offices would love to live there," Joanne Mulvaney of Port Charlotte said. "They just fear putting out that money for a $22,000 home in an area that looks like it is falling into decay."
"Somebody, and they weren't joking, said they could buy a house on their credit card," Commission Chair Bob Starr said.
Officials like Starr want to create an identity here and they see it in the Medical District centered on Harbor Boulevard. Tuesday, a Redevelopment Specialist presented plans to turn old, bunker-like buildings into bright, vibrant structures, add more sidewalks and trees., and come up with a recognizable brand for an area that includes two hospitals."
The goal is to make the area more attractive and pedestrian friendly, to take it from a rural-suburban setting to an urban setting, and to plant more trees and bushes, so passing drivers don't just see parking lots "We need to make it walkable, livable and accessible to everybody," Commissioner Dick Loftus said.
Commissioners must now consider several ways to finance the plan. They hope the redevelopment will lure medical professionals to live in the area.