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First phase of Charlotte Harbor Walk project now underway

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CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- The first phase of a major construction project in Charlotte County is beginning.

Crews have been out clearing the area to turn a neglected eyesore into a thriving waterfront. In just a matter of days, the highly anticipated Charlotte Harbor Gateway Walk will be in its first phase.

“That has been a very favorite spot for locals and tourists to go out and fish and view the sunset, so there was definitely a need to do something to improve that site and make it more accessible to the public,” said Debrah Forester, redevelopment manager for Charlotte County.

The Harbor Walk will be centered at the base of the U.S. 41 North Bridge. Since Hurricane Charley in 2004, the area has been deserted. Broken concrete, overgrown weeds and a crumbling seawall is all that can be seen at the waterfront.

The county says it’s not only time to clean up the area, but they have a big vision for how this will help the local economy.

“We will be able to create a boardwalk that will link the east side of U.S. 41 to the west side so people will actually have a safe way to cross U.S. 41 and have that view of the waterfront. We hope it will stimulate private investment into the area as well,” said Forester.

The goal is to make Charlotte County more pedestrian and boater friendly. It will also shape the look and feel to drivers coming over the bridge, into the heart of Charlotte Harbor. A boat launch will be built for kayaks and small sailboats, restrooms will be added as well as a boardwalk and plaza to view the sunset.

The first phase of the $2.3 million project is expected to finish in a year. The entire project should be complete by 2018.