Published: Oct 24, 2013 5:36 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 24, 2013 6:00 PM EDT

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- Bonita Springs wants some financial help from Lee County in forming a partnership to finance improvements to the downtown area, along Old 41. That section is often called Bonita's downtown, and it needs some upgrades.

The city mayor and manager will meet next week with Lee commissioners, to ask them to form a partnership in community redevelopment. Lee would kick in $13.7 million over a 20 to 25 year period, to finance the improvements to roads, sidewalks, drainage and off-street parking.

Merchants along Old 41 said they believe the county should contribute, but Lee budget planners are not convinced. They are warning commissioners to avoid long-term pledging of cash, since the county has just come out of several very difficult budget cycles.

Bonita city officials believe that Lee and the city would benefit from higher property values in the redevelopment area. It stretches along Old 41, from Bonita Beach road, north to Rosemary.