Fort Myers envisions walkable Midtown for redesign

The City of Fort Myers is working to finalize plans for its Midtown development project. Part of the vision is to make the area more pedestrian walkable. However, another aspect would knock down a local stadium.

The city has been working for more than a year to finalize the new vision for Midtown in Fort Myers in order to revitalize the area.

“There’s not much happening in Midtown,” Theodore Trent said. “If you ask people in the community, there’s not a whole lot of reasons to go there today.”

Trent, a professor of architecture and urban design at USF’s Tampa campus, said the area could use the proposed enhancements that would allow for an easier walk from the Midtown area to downtown by the riverfront.

The new vision also adds new businesses, housing and more public spaces.

“If we can make our core of the city the river district desirable and better, it’ll go through the rest of the city like a spiderweb,” Mayor Randy Henderson said.

Some people in the city have concerns for the overall potential design plan.

“I don’t know how much room they have to do all that,” Beverly Coy said. “It’s a small congested town.”

Further aspects of the redesign could mean knocking down the City of Palms Park stadium.

“The stadium could come down,” Trent said. “The plan envisions it to come down to make way for a new major public open space, which we call the “Midtown Square Park.”

Once the Boston Red Sox left the stadium for JetBlue Park so did the revenue. Henderson said the stadium could be gone within 2019. He said the community is calling for an update.

“A need to modernize,” Henderson said. “A demand for new product, attainable housing, retail, office space.

There are two public hearings scheduled over the next month to finalize plans. The entire redevelopment could take up to 20 years for completion.

“If this kind of area, this vibe downtown Fort Myers could expand to midtown and have a similar feel, that would be wonderful,” Garret Buckley said.


Reporter:Britni McDonald