LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County, facing a $28 million budget shortfall for the coming year, is set to spend $1.3 million on road landscaping. Commissioners will be asked to approve the money for two stretches of major roadways.
"We believe that a landscaped roadway is more appealing to the travelling public," says Randy Cerchie, deputy director of the Lee Department of Transportation.
DOT wants about $920,000 to beautify a stretch of Three Oaks Parkway in the south Estero-north Bonita Springs area. It wants $400,000 to landscape along a recently-widened stretch of Colonial Blvd., mostly east of I-75.
"We struggle with this all the time. Do we want to be wall-to-wall concrete? Or something better than that? I believe we need to have some flowers and bushes and roses along the roadways," says Lee Commissioner Frank Mann.
Jim Towne of Lehigh Acres disagrees.
"I mean pretty is fine, but not when it comes out of the transportation budget. We need street lights and speed limit signs, things to protect public safety. I am not for 'pretty' in this case," he tells WINK News.
Commissioners have been steadfast throughout the recession, in approving landscaping dollars, after major road projects. They have said in the past, the beautification projects make the area look better and more attractive to visitors and residents.
The are supposed to vote next week on the $1.3 million in landscaping.