Midtown Neighborhood Plan
Have you visited Downtown Fort Myers recently? The City’s historic buildings, brick streets, and variety of restaurants and shops have made the Downtown River District the place to be. In fact, with the high-rises surrounding downtown fully occupied by people seeking an urban lifestyle coupled with the number of businesses seeking Class A office space in a built-out downtown, the CRA has begun to look at how the area directly south of downtown could be developed to complement the wildly successful River District.
The Fort Myers CRA, in partnership with the City of Fort Myers, hired EnSite, Inc, to create a conceptual plan for the area bordered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the north, Cleveland Avenue to the west, Evans Avenue to the east, and Edison Avenue to the south.
Approximately 100 people attended the kick-off meeting in July 2015 to share their thoughts about the Midtown area’s future role in the community. Incorporating that feedback, the team at Ensite is proposing a concept for the Midtown area which includes opportunities for commerce, recreation and higher density housing. Picture a smaller version of New York’s Central Park appealing to the preferences and concerns of the Millennial generation—with mixed-use buildings surrounding the park, new Class A office space in easy walking distance of government buildings, and a host of restaurants and shops in both Midtown and the Downtown. This concept was presented to the public in a workshop on December 2, 2015. Key points of the Midtown Project include:
• Increasing connectivity and walkability between the Midtown and Downtown areas;
• Creating interconnected green spaces for public use, including neighborhood and community parks and playgrounds;
• Emphasizing mixed-use development for people to live, work and play both in the Midtown and Downtown areas;
• Incorporating a new state-of-the-art infrastructure ready to house a technology park and Class A professional office space;
• Providing a better grid network for the streets within Midtown to improve traffic flow, relieve congestion along S.R. 82, and increase safety through additional bicycle paths, trails and greenways;
• Provide stormwater treatment to improve run-off water quality before it flows into the Caloosahatchee River;
• Preserving the existing railway corridor for future multi-modal transportation options;
• Using roundabouts within Midtown for continuous traffic flow; and
• Employing forward-thinking parking solutions such as on-street parking and centralized parking garages.
It’s time to envision Midtown as a draw for technology and innovation, retail, a farmers’ market with food truck vendors, entertainment, recreation, cultural activity, community gardens and a focused energy that will enhance the character of Fort Myers’ Downtown core.
Note: The proposed concept incorporates recommendations from multiple studies previously completed including the Downtown Plan (which identifies redevelopment districts), the 2010 Cleveland Avenue Plan, the 2013 Lee County Rail Corridor Feasibility Study, the 2013 Downtown Fort Myers Mobility Plan, and the 2006 Fort Myers Parks & Open Space Master Plan.