FEATURE: Committed to Continuous Improvement

VILLAGE OF ESTERO ADOPTS FIRST TIME CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN (CIP)

Where does the road to the future begin? For Estero, a roadmap toward success is taking shape in the form of the Village’s first ever Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  Building upon the Village of Estero Comprehensive Plan, the CIP is a compilation of an ambitious array of capital projects designed to enhance our community.

A Collaborative Effort

Meetings of many minds have resulted in a comprehensive collaboration that will benefit local residents and businesses. The plan has been developing over the past several years, but the process officially began on June 5, 2018 when the Village of Estero held the first of two community workshops to gather input from residents regarding the CIP. The second workshop took place on June 7, 2018 during the evening so that working residents would be able to attend. The workshops not only fulfilled the Village’s requirement per Resolution 2018-10 to hold these public meetings, they also provided a forum to consider innovative ideas and recommendations from our citizens.

The Village solicited input of the community to ensure that the plan included all possible projects whether or not they could be funded over the next 5 years. As a result, nearly half of the identified projects are not currently funded. The balance of those funded are high priority capital projects.

The CIP encompasses all of the Village’s future capital projects and expenditures with particular focus on roadway projects, intersection improvements, bike-pedestrian issues, landscape projects, and more. The total costs through 2023 are estimated at about $37 million.

Experts on the village and county levels are also integrally involved in the process. Bob King, ECCL’s director of transportation, has served the Village of Estero as a representative to the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizens Advisory Committee, as well as serving on Estero’s Planning and Zoning Board.

“My approach is to stay informed about village, county and state activities relating to all forms of mobility,” explains Mr. King. “To listen to the concerns of all village residents particularly our ECCL members. To advocate to staff and elected officials for activities that can improve the safety and quality of life of our community.”

The priorities, timeline and cost projections included in the CIP have grown out of  analysis over a three-year period of traffic studies, master plans, and community outreach efforts. Residents have expressed their concerns through the Village’s Request for Action system, Public Works Director David Willems explains.

“We listen to our residents’ feedback, and we can see where the common concerns lie,” said Mr. Willems.

By compiling all of the information, the Village can now focus on the identified target areas over the next five years.

“This is an ongoing process,” stated Mr. Willems. “Every year, the CIP will be updated and the timeline may change as new projects or new priorities arise.”

On the Roads

Estero Parkway improvements, estimated at $9.3 million, will be the major roadway project for fiscal year 2018-19. Several other projects are slated to begin in 2019, including improvements to Broadway west of U.S. 41, a project identified primarily from residents’ “requests for action” following last summer’s storms. There are also future plans for widening Williams Road from U.S. 41 to Via Coconut Point.

The county’s plans for widening Corkscrew Road from Ben Hill Griffin Parkway to Bella Terra Boulevard beginning with the design work in 2019 are expected to be approved in September.

Four-laning Corkscrew Road is a long-term process that will begin with procurement for professional design services. Right of Way has been acquired for the road out to the Bella Terra subdivision.  The segment from Bella Terra to Alico may require additional Right of Way acquisition dependent on the design features.

The widening will likely take place in two phases to expedite the project: Phase I would be from Ben Hill Griffin to Bella Terra.  Phase II would be from Bella Terra to Alico.

At the Intersections

Intersections scheduled for improvement have been identified through traffic studies commissioned by the Village of Estero. There are several intersections funded for improvements during the next five years, including intersections along Coconut Road, Williams Road, Corkscrew Road, U.S. 41 and Ben Hill Griffin Parkway.

Short-term safety needs for certain areas of east Corkscrew Road will be addressed by the county DOT, particularly four connectors of the greatest concern: Pinewoods Elementary entrance, Wildcat Run, The Preserve at Corkscrew and Corkscrew Shores.

Williams Road improvements on the east side of U.S. 41 will consist of turn lanes to be added near Estero High School in order to alleviate traffic back-ups. On the west side of U.S. 41, a Village-controlled roadway, the exit behind Walgreen’s will undergo necessary improvements to make this area safer. Currently, drivers are illegally turning left from behind  Walgreen’s – to make this safer, barriers will be added in the middle of the road so that drivers will have to turn right upon exiting at that location.

Cooperation exists between FDOT, Lee County DOT and the Village regarding improvements to the Corkscrew Road interchange with I-75 and its approaches. FDOT has the primary responsibility and provided this project summary:

Design Phase……………… Began in August of 2017

Expected completion…………………………Late 2018

Project Letting (Construction)…………….Spring 2019

Construction Start……………………….Summer 2019 (one year to complete)

Project Cost………………………………  $12.8 million

Bike/Pedestrian Projects

One of our major goals is to ensure that the Village of Estero is safe and friendly to biking and walking. More projects will be added to this category after the Village receives findings from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)-funded Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan that is just getting underway. However, some improvements are planned, including crosswalks on Coconut Road where there are sidewalks on the perimeter of dead-end streets but no crosswalks currently in place.

Landscaping & Beautification

The most significant landscaping projects will occur along Estero’s main thoroughfares, U.S. 41 throughout the Village and Corkscrew Road from Interstate 75 west to U.S. 41. Design for Corkscrew Road’s beautification, estimated at $1.9 million, is slated for this year, and installation is funded for 2019-20. Landscaping of the U.S. 41 median is also expected to begin later this year. Branded monument signs to mark the entry into the Village will be placed at Estero’s boundaries on U.S. 41, I-75, Three Oaks Parkway, Ben Hill Griffin Parkway and Corkscrew Road. This project will be completed during 2018-19.

Parks & Recreation

The Village has commissioned a Parks & Recreation Master Plan which will determine future parks and recreation projects. The Village also is working with Koreshan State Park to make improvements to its boat ramp for access to the Estero River. This project is expected to be completed in 2019-20.

Land Acquisition
Several significant potential land acquisitions have been identified, with $26 million budgeted in the 2018-19 designated for a major land purchase.

By the Numbers

The budget for the 2019-23 CIP encompasses:

Transportation Projects                           $  9,000,000

Roadway Intersections                           $     545,120

Bicycle and Pedestrian                           $       16,400

Landscaping and Beautification          $  1,537,500

Land Acquisition                                     $26,000,000

Total Capital Program                             $37,099,020

An estimated $3 million will come from the Lee County Department of Transportation’s contribution to the redesign of Estero Parkway and from the Florida Department of Transportation’s contribution to improved landscaping along U.S. 41 in the Village. The other $34 million of projects in the village’s capital improvement plan would come from Estero’s general fund, gas taxes and debt funding.

The bulk of Estero’s capital improvement plan for the upcoming year is allocated toward a $26 million land purchase with a location to be determined on September 20, 2018.

Of the estimated $26 million cost, $5 million would be paid for from the village’s general fund. The other $21 million would be debt financed.

The CIP allocates $1.6 million per year to retire this debt over the next 10 years.

Reflecting Estero’s Vision

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), a collaboration between the village and its residents, provides the Village with a comprehensive capital improvement program that reflects Estero’s vision to be a highly valued place to live, work, and visit. Improved roadways and safe intersections, landscaping and beautification of our environments, enjoyable and safe areas for walking and biking are all priorities that foster a sense of belonging and creates a sense of place.

For more information about community planning in Estero, visit our website at http://EsteroToday.com/community-planning/.

You’re Invited:

To learn more, the next public hearings to address the 2018-19 budget and other relevant issues will take place:

When:
5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 5, and
Thursday, Sept. 20

Where:
Estero Village Hall,
9401 Corkscrew Palms Circle, Estero

Details: estero-fl.gov

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