November 2022 Meeting of the ECCL
Summary of November 2022
Jim Gilmartin opened the meeting, the first since the summer recess, expressing the organization’s sincere sadness and empathy with those who have suffered so much in Estero due to hurricane Ian. Jim went on to comment about the actions of the ECCL following the impact of the hurricane.
- The ECCL, the Estero Forever Foundation, and the Greater Estero Chamber actioned a request by mayor Katy Errington to encourage donations to the EFF fund for distribution to Estero residents. More than $103,000 was contributed and will be donated to families requesting assistance. The ECCL also donated an additional $5,000 to assist those suffering from the hurricane, and we donated additional funds to others in greater Estero seriously impacted by the storm.
- ECCL leaders John Quinn and Jim Shields organized a 2-day gathering on November 5 and 6 at Riverwoods Plantation on West Broadway. The purpose was to provide a modicum of handholding and information to hurricane victims.
Hot meals, social interaction, and helpful information were also provided directly to those in the West Broadway area affected by the horrible event of hurricane Ian. Although funded by the ECCL, we sincerely thank the local and out-of-area volunteers and Operation BBQ Relief for providing daily meals enjoyed by residents and shared with others in our communities.
- The ECCL also provided $7,500 in grants to:
- The Riverwoods Plantation Resort Memorial Fund provides funds to support various projects during the year to assist the community volunteers serving the community – $2,500.00
- First Baptist Church of Estero, Pastor Frank Brand – $2,500.00
- Operation Barbeque Relief, a nationally recognized relief organization that provided 1,200 meals at West Broadway – $2,500.00
- Earlier in the year, the ECCL supported the Estero Historical Society in the desire to receive donations to repair their historic buildings. The ECCL was pleased to donate $3,000 for this purpose. We also conducted a donation campaign, and more than $20,000 was donated by Estero citizens.
Jim mentioned that in the coming months, while the ECCL will continue to provide monthly meetings like those held in the past, there is a need to provide more engaging meetings for those attending. One change will be to provide Public Forums or Town Hall style meetings on essential topics where residents can ask questions of panels of experts. The first of this type will be the postponed Public Forum Meeting on the Environment and Water Quality being held at the Water School at FGCU on January 25, 2023, at 6 p.m. – more details will follow.
Focus Areas [Jump to Video]
Terry Flanagan, ECCL’s Chief Business Administrator, provided a brief overview of some of the key issues on which the ECCL is focused.
- Road improvements at Sandy Lane/East Broadway and Williams Road/River Ranch area were discussed. The ECCL Safety Council, under the leadership of Lou Frattarelli, Mark Ruset, and Tony Carangelo, have provided input on the design of the paths and the associated landscaping, ensuring they meet the goals and standards like those on Estero Parkway.
- Rails-to-Trails. This long-term project involving many stakeholders has stimulated much conversation and creative thinking, on which ECCL’s Tony Carangelo and others in the ECCL are focused. New ideas not previously considered are emerging that will make it a wonderful amenity for the community when finalized.
- East Corkscrew Development. We want input on road design, school placement, and other infrastructure issues to encourage smart, controlled, and planned growth. With Lou Frattarelli’s leadership, we are watching this aspect closely.
If possible, the aim is to help improve the developments and enhance the infrastructure (road network and amenities). In addition, we hope to positively influence the appearance of East Corkscrew so that the “look” resembles Estero Parkway and Three Oaks Parkway rather than Tamiami Trail or Immokalee Road!
James Root, the ECCL’s Consultant on Septic to Sewer issues, updated the Village’s program to convert the approximate 500 septic systems in Estero to a municipal sewage system.
James explained that the project would likely be constructed in three phases. He stressed that the Villages Public Works Director, David Willems provided helpful support and information. He emphasized that any ECCL communications on this topic would be reviewed and agreed to by the Village before distribution.
Phase I includes Estero Bay Village, Sunny Groves, and Cypress Bend. Each community has package treatment plants (collective septic sewer systems, not individual ones). The Village of Estero is estimating a construction (RFP and contract) with a start date of April 2023. Phase II includes Broadway West and Broadway East.
The Village of Estero is anticipating the completion of construction plans and cost estimates by mid-2023. If all goes to plan, completion of these three locations (Cypress Bend, Sunny Groves, and Estero Bay Village) may be completed by the end of 2023 or early 2024. Phase III would include all other communities with septic systems. We will provide further details as available.
Recent ECCL Resident Survey [Jump to Video]
Allan Bowditch, ECCL’s Chief Communications Officer, provided a PowerPoint presentation of the findings resulting from the September ECCL Residents’ Survey. You can see the findings here.
A key finding was that 75% of the 831 residents who took part felt a need for an organization like the ECCL. (community-based, 501c3 nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and volunteer community organization) Only 5% disagreed; the others were unsure. The reasons why residents felt such an organization was needed include the following:
- Nonpartisan, nonpolitical groups are needed in our divided society
- To be a voice for responsible growth and environmental issues.
- Keep development to a minimum to maintain our quality of life.
- To help shape Estero’s future
Rebranding the ECCL [Jump to Video]
Jim Gilmartin presented the Executive Management Team’s perspective on the need to “Rebrand” the ECCL, unanimously approved by the ECCL Board of Directors on 11/16/22. The Team, headed by Jim, believed there was an urgent need to clarify the ECCL’s purpose and mission.
Analysis of the ECCL’s purpose, mission, and vision, input from the recent survey, and discussions with FGCU professors helped to provide a framework and direction for the ECCL. The new name of the ECCL, effective February 1, 2023, is “Engage Estero.” Please see the informative and very well-received presentation by those in attendance here.
Light Up Estero [Jump to Video]
Gary Israel, President and Publisher of Estero Life Magazine, made an emotional plea for participation in the Estero Rotary Club’s special event – “Light Up Estero.” Unity In The Community is the theme for the event organized by the Rotary Club of Estero.
Gather friends, family, and neighbors and head to Ocean Church on Saturday, December 3, from 4-7 p.m. for holiday festivities, a seasonal sing-along, food trucks, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus–arriving by Estero fire truck! The New Horizons Children’s Choir will sing beloved Christmas tunes. A community-wide vigil will include eight participating churches and their congregations to honor first responders, linemen, disaster relief personnel, and everyone in our area affected by Hurricane Ian. Proceeds from this special evening supported by the ECCL will support Hurricane Ian relief, the Estero Forever Foundation, and scholarships for Estero High School students.