January 2022 ZOOM Monthly Meeting

 Highlights of the 210th ECCL Membership Meeting

January 14, 2022

After opening remarks, President Jim Gilmartin introduced the key speakers.

Jeffrey Garner, Asst. VP of Marketing and Communication at FGCU.

Mr. Garner highlighted a few of the over 150 activities that have been planned for FGCU Day, which will take place on Saturday, February 12, and celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the University. Events begin at 9 am and are free. Hike the nature trails, listen to music, visit the Innovation Station, have a bite to eat at various places on campus, visit the basketball teams. All activities can be reviewed, along with a campus map, online at www.fgcu.edu/FGCUday.

Jennifer Dorning, Senior Public Information Specialist.

Jennifer currently serves as the Project Public Information Consultant for Lee County’s Corkscrew Road Widening Project. Jennifer acts as a liaison between the County, the project team, and the public during the project.

Jennifer, along with two colleagues, Jeffrey Papner and David Murphy, outlined the plans and the timeline for the East Corkscrew Road widening. Jenifer provided a helpful PowerPoint presentation that described the planning, timing and engineering steps that will be taken in the months ahead. She pointed out the various features incorporated into the planned road widening design such as the sidewalks and bike paths and wildlife underpass and explained how the utilities would be handled. These details can be seen in the maps provided on the PowerPoint charts. The presentation provided a very inclusive and informative update on the project and is available by clicking on this link.

ECCL Reports

President Jim Gilmartin

President Gilmartin noted that the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting would be held on Friday, January 21 at 9 am at 2201 Second Street in Ft. Myers. The MPO will review amendments to the 2025 long-range transportation plan at this public hearing. You can get a copy of the plan by calling 239-244-2420 or review the plan at www.leempo.com. One of these amendments is “Add the design, right-of-Way and construction project phases for widening Corkscrew Road from two to four lanes between Alico Road and Verdana Village. The design and right-of-way phases are included in the 2026 to 2030 time-frame, and the construction phases are included in the 2031 to 2035 time-frame.”

Jim mentioned that the ECCL’s Adopt a Highway program attracts considerable support from residents. In addition to US 41, several roads within the Estero area are now being cleared of discarded rubbish. If you on re interested in finding out more about participating in one of our monthly small group events, please email ecclhwy41@gmail.com.

The Greater Estero Visitor Information Center (GEVIC) will be formally proposed to the Village Council on February 2. This online information center will offer a wide variety of information on housing, health, retail, education, and more. The brainchild of the ECCL, the project was developed by a task force including the Chamber of Commerce and is supported by many Estero organizations and businesses.

The website will be developed by Simple View.com, a company that developed 900 municipal websites in the USA and internationally. It will be managed and marketed by Naples-based Hoffman Creative, Inc.  If you would like to express your support for the concept, please attend the Village Council meeting on February 2, 2022, and drop a note to the task force at www.visitesteroFL.com.

The ECCL activities were updated, including the CPR-AED (Automated External Defibrillator) effort and Rails to Trails.

Mike Wasson, co-chair of the Education Committee, and Vanessa Santiago of Junior Achievement

Both participants discussed the ECCL 2-5-8 Junior Achievement initiative, which provides financial literacy and work readiness to local students. Over 200 volunteers are involved. Due to COVID, some in-person programs changed to remote learning at the beginning of 2022, but the team hopes to be back in the classroom when circumstances allow.

Allan Bowditch Chief Communications Officer.

Allan discussed the upcoming 7th Anniversary of the Village of Estero in March, the effect of the 2020 census on growth and redistricting, access to Larry Kiker Preserve from Corkscrew Rd, Estero River development, and the reciprocal communications now taking place with Estero High School and the ECCL. Allan mentioned the possibility of initiating another survey to assess resident opinions on various issues of importance in our community now and in the future.

He highlighted the need to reach out to a growing audience of new, often younger residents and parents in the area. He noted that issues of importance to many include news on walking and biking paths, the need for workforce housing, enhancing the awareness of the cultural activities in our area from the Bower School of Music and the Arts at FGCU, and Gulfshore Opera located in Estero.

John Quin, Chief Financial Officer.

John noted that web charges have increased due to increased internet usage due to the COVID impact. The new budget includes $25,000 for operating coats and $17,500 allotted for individual programs. The year-end financial reports are available online. ECCL currently has 37 members, of which 32 are resident communities.

Delays at the IRS due to COVID are hampering the effort to acquire 501(c)3 status. It is hoped that it will be forthcoming by June 2022.

The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is Friday, February 11.