City - News

Posted on: August 23, 2017

Florida League of Cities honors Downtown River Basin with Environmental Stewardship Award

Downtown River Basin Walkway

Orlando, Fla. (August 23, 2017)—The City of Fort Myers has been recognized as a winner in the Florida League of Cities’ 9th Annual Florida Municipal Achievement awards.  The City is co-winner of the League’s Environmental Stewardship Award for the Downtown River Basin. This is the first time that the city has won a “Muni” award from the Florida League of Cities.

Municipal Achievement awards are presented in three categories: City Spirit, Florida Citizenship, and Environmental Stewardship.  The Environmental Stewardship award focuses on city programs that promote conservation, improve and protect environmental condition, and/or provide environmental education and outreach programs within a City. The City of Fort Myers earned the award for improvements to environmental water quality, and shares the 2017 honor with a co-honoree, the Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

The River Basin is a 1.5 acre water detention/retention area that treats urban stormwater runoff from 15 acres of the City’s Downtown, reducing the total nitrogen load entering the Caloosahatchee River.  The picturesque basin has sparked economic development in Downtown, including the construction of the upcoming basin-side Luminary Hotel & Co.  Additionally, the basin has become a focal point for downtown events, helps to reduce the urban heat island, and offers opportunities for community education and passive recreation.

“Most people see the River Basin and think it’s just a nice water feature in our Downtown area,” explains City Manager Saeed Kazemi. “It actually serves an important environmental purpose. It collects and filters the stormwater from our Downtown streets, parking lots, and buildings, and the result is healthier water entering the river.”

The City of Fort Myers received the Municipal Achievement Award at the Florida League of Cities annual conference, held August 17-19 in Orlando. The basin will also be featured in an upcoming issue of the League’s award-winning magazine, Quality Cities.

Other 2017 Muni Award winners include the City of Oldsmar (City Spirit Award) and the City of Melbourne (Florida Citizenship Award).

The FLC also recognized the Mayor and two City Council members with 2017 Home Rule Hero awards.  Councilman Forrest Banks, Mayor Randall P. Henderson Jr. and Councilwoman Teresa Watkins brown earned the designation for their efforts to advance the League’s legislative agenda and help protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s cities.  Home rule is the ability for a city to establish its own form of government and enact its own ordinances, codes, plans, and resolutions.

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