NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - Over the last couple weeks, we've shown you the worst flooding spots in North Fort Myers and the steps residents and Lee County officials have taken to help maintain the unpaved roads.
Wednesday, officials revealed a new plan to help control the water. They want to build a reservoir to help collect and filter out rain water. The Nalle Grade Stormwater Park would cover 75 acres, south of Nalle Grade Road, east of I-75. In addition to the reservoir, it would include a park, boardwalk and nature trails. The goals are to improve drainage, the quality of water running into the Caloosahatchee, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.
Some of the 60 frustrated property owners who came to the meeting Wednesday night said the focus needs to be on controlling water quantity before quality.
"This is great, this is nice, I applaud it all day," one man said. "But, you've got to fix what you've got before you can go on."
"This is not going to help the flooding," Karen Kamener said. "You've got 120 square miles of water from 74 in Charlotte County, to 31, to 75, to the river. That is the joke. It might help with the water quality."
Commissioner Frank Mann said Wednesday's meeting was planned long before the rain came. While the plan is not the final answer, it's a start. In the meantime, he said the focus should be on tackling the lack of maintenance that can contribute to flooding. "The water is not flowing in the conveyances we have," Mann said. "The ditches, the culverts, the small creeks and streams are blocked for one reason or another. And, we can deal with that and that's got to be our first priority."
While it's aimed at easing the flooding, the project is actually part of a federal mandate, forcing Lee County to clean the water running into the river. It will cost between $2.5-4 million dollars in grant money and could take up to 3 years.