FORT MYERS, Fla.- The City of Fort Myers is asking Lee County for $4 million in so-called "bed taxes" to help pay for Harborside Event Center improvements. The Tourist Development Council (TDC) heard that request on Friday. The City says Harborside improvements will attract a developer to commit to building a hotel next to the event center, and attract mid-sized business conventions.
"It sounds like an attractive project, the improved center and a top hotel next to it. But it is very expensive. We will have to analyze the numbers and then decide whether it all adds up," said Kevin Ruane, the mayor of Sanibel, who sits on the Tourist Council.
"I know these calculations are sometimes a little rough, we will have to make sure it's all correct," said Larry Kiker, chair of the TDC. "I do not want to get into a situation where we are taking away from something else, to give to the city for the event center. I personally want to make sure that our most precious resource, our beaches, are protected."
The TDC did not vote on the request; it will ask the county commissioners for guidance on whether to move ahead with the request, or drop it.
Fort Myers says it needs $10 million committed to improving Harborside, by the end of this year.