Pocket park planned for empty lot in downtown Fort Myers

Reporter: Samantha Johns Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Pocket park
Location of the planned pocket park. (Credit: WINK News)

A pocket park could soon take the place of a demolished historic building in downtown Fort Myers.

The plan is to bring a dog watering station, plants, trees, and seating to the empty lot on First Street.

People walk along the empty lot every day. Locked up and nudged between two businesses, visitors might not know it was once home to this building. Deemed historical, many wanted it to stay, but in late 2019, the city tore it down because of termites.

Historic building that once stood on where the pocket park is planned. (Credit: WINK News)

“It had fallen into such disrepair that it was almost unfixable and developable. So, I mean, not that we ever want to see historic buildings go down, but at the same time, we don’t want things to be unsafe,” said Jane Cruz, manager at The Franklin Shops.

Cruz hired an artist to paint a mural to brighten up the empty lot.

Mural painted on the side of The Franklin Shops in downtown Fort Myers. (Credit: WINK News)

Now Fort Myers hopes to do the same by turning the space into a pocket park that would offer seats, shade, and a place for dogs to play.

Cruz said she is all for it. “We would love, as an artistic retail cooperative, to see something go in there that is artistic as well. But also that has some nice functional features to have a look around at the area historic buildings, have a seat, a cold drink, maybe have a look at the art on the wall, and just enjoy this beautiful community.”

She is not the only one who feels this way.

“There’s a lot of shops, but there’s nowhere really for people to kind of just hang out and be in one space together,” said Grace O’Connor of Fort Myers.

The goal is to sign a lease for 15 years for the park with an option to extend for five more.

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