Community members worry about increased traffic with plans for more Estero schools

The School District of Lee County is working on a plan to build another middle and elementary school in Estero to help with overcrowding, since families continue to move to the region at an increasing rate.

The schools would be located north of Corkscrew Road along Three Oaks Parkway.

Some community members we spoke to Tuesday are worried about the extra traffic that would come with the schools, as well as runoff water from the property that could cause even more flooding in their backyards. They don’t deny the need for a new school, but they think it should go on the other side of the I-75.

Jeff Ocean has owned property in Estero for more than a decade, and he’s seen the area grow over the years.

“It used to be a sleepy little town, and it is not a sleepy little town anymore,” Ocean said.

“We left the Washington D.C. area to get away from congestion, and we are starting to see the congestion starting to come back here,” Ocean said.

The District is starting to see some of that congestion in their schools in the south zone. That’s why they’ve been working on plans for a new elementary and middle school in Estero along Three Oaks Pkwy.

The District asked the Village of Estero to give it the green light to use the district-owned land for the schools.

But Ocean and his neighbors, who live in the Copper Oaks neighborhood next-door, worry the school will cause a traffic disaster.

“Traffic is bad enough now, and they are talking about rush hour,” Ocean said. “That is when school starts. That is when school ends. It’s just going to exacerbate the traffic that we are seeing right now.”

Some community members worry the rain water that is absorbed by the current empty wetlands will flow into their yards.

“Where is all of this water going to go?” Edward Frantz said. “Are they going to expand the drainage on Three Oaks Parkway?”

Those we spoke to think east of I-75 is a better home for the two schools, as more development continues.

“Construction is going to be mostly to the east,” Ocean said.

The District says more than 1,000 new elementary and middle school students are expected in the area within the next decade.

Planning for the new schools is still in the early stages. The District is being proactive to try to get permission from the Village to develop the school in the area. The District hopes the schools would open by fall 2023.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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