Some of the brightest young minds in the area joined experts to brain-storm ideas about the future of Lee County. They joined a seminar to talk about what life will be like here in 2035.
"I think it will be a nice place to live," said Erik Heneger of Bishop Verot High. "I think the people my age would like to live here, if it becomes more urbanized, more dynamic along the Ft. Myers riverfront, for example. People my age want to have easy transportation and an urban lifestyle."
As for the economy, the young people said tourism probably will remain the backbone. "I look for more tourism, especially foreign visitors. That has been our main thing for a long time and I believe it will continue," said senior Kaitlyn Sarlo. "I am not certain or convinced the 'green revolution' will do that much. It's a good thing no doubt, but we will still have and use oil. I believe some of the environmentalists are overly optimistic and idealistic."
Mike Ciccarone, moderator of the day-long seminar at Harborside event center, said he was very impressed by the insights of the young people. "They are so sharp, and they are focused on what they want in the future. They do not want this area to become dependent on just construction again, as it sort of was before the colllapse in housing. They do want to live in an urbanized, dynamic community. And they appreciate the great blessing we have in our weather, which so many parts of the world would like to have. That is why I tend to believe, along with the young people, that bio-tech can be oversold. Tourism and great weather are big things for us and that should continue."