City leaders envision new plans for Fort Myers midtown

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- City leaders have grand plans for the area just south of downtown Fort Myers. A consultant is offering ideas to turn the midtown area into a vibrant area for high-tech businesses and young people.

Fort Myers built the City of Palms Park 20 years ago, hoping development would follow spring training to the neighborhoods, but it never happened. Now, the city will offer tax incentives to attract developers. It also hopes to buy out abandoned homes, to make a park.

“The idea is to create a major feature, with a large, kind of central park,” said Don Paight, director of Fort Myers community redevelopment, “to bring in residential, office, high-tech businesses.”

The consultant believes, developers will invest millions to build townhomes, shops, and restaurants in the area, but some doubt, it will ever happen.

“They tell us one thing, and don’t do it. Then, they tell us another,” said Ralph Evans, owner of a local barbershop.

Some residents say the area needs more attention from police, before city leaders try to draw in developers.

“I think they need to get rid of some of the drug dealers. A lot of the crime is in our backyard,” said Julie Laplante.

The Fort Myers City Council could be asked to approve the midtown plan early next year, if the plans continue moving forward.

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