LEHIGH ACRES, Fl. - Major plans in the works to revitalize Lehigh Acres. Planners have their eye on about a thousand acres of land off of Homestead Road.
"We need a piece of the pie," says Marylou Land.
Land works at Maria's on Homestead Road. She's lived in Lehigh Acres for more than 30 years. She says in that time while the population has boomed, she can't say the same for business.
"We need some more corporate businesses so that the residents of Lehigh will stay in Lehigh and spend their money here instead of going into Fort Myers," she adds.
Ed Weiner with the Economic Development Board says they're already working to solve those concerns. It's all part of a massive development plan that spans a two and a half mile stretch along Homestead Road from Sunrise to Milwaukee Blvd.
"In order to stop people from leaving Lehigh to either work or shop, we're developing these communities to make sure that they stay," Weiner says.
Weiner says this plan will bring in new businesses, housing and industry, something he says will be very similar to downtown Fort Myers.
"Where the buildings are up against the street, where you walk to restaurants, where you have offices above the restaurants where you have some residences and condominiums above the restaurants... so that people don't have to leave the community. the intent of this entire area is to get rid of the car.
He says the plans will go from paper to the pavement sooner than later.
"We don't talk 20 years down the road anymore, we talk 5 years down the road," he adds.
On Thursday, leaders will meet with a developer who's already interested in a portion of the land on Homestead Road.
They hope to make major headway with the project within the next six months.