Published: Mar 30, 2011 8:22 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 30, 2011 5:42 PM EDT

Lee County must decide whether to spend nearly 784-thousand dollars to landscape some of US 41.    Some people criticize the potential spending, saying the money would be better used for sidewalks or street lights.   The money must be used to build roads, or for something transportation-related.

"Spending money on vegetation is wrong at this time," said Stacy Abrams of North Fort Myers. 

"How about using the money to put in more sidewalks and street lights along 41," asked Karen Caravalho, also of North Ft. Myers.   "There are so many needs besides plants.  Yes, I like the greenery we have here in this area.   But it's pretty now, use the money for something that helps people and makes them safer."

If commissioners approve next Tuesday, a local landscaping company would be hired to install irrigation lines, and plant trees and bushes on a 4-miles stretch of 41, from  Littleton Rd., north to the Charlotte County line.

"I believe landscaping makes for an attractive look for visitors and residents too," said Commission chairman  Frank Mann.  "I believe we have to be more than just concrete and asphalt in Lee County.    Making the area look beautiful is critically important.   And the fact is, we cannot move this money to some other part of the budget.  It has to go to transportation, and we are getting a bid that is much better than a few years ago, when the economy is booming.  So we will get more plants and irrigation for our dollars."

The county has made it a priority to landscape the medians of major roads, like 41, Palm Beach Boulevard, and Bayshore Rd.