Fort Myers city leaders considering burying power lines downtown

Author: Annette Montgomery
Published: Updated:

Taking a stroll in downtown Fort Myers, there are a lot of sights and views to take in, but not everyone is a fan of some of those views, specifically the power lines.

“I think they’re an eye-sore for one thing, and they fall during storms, and I just think it’s more durable and looks better to have them buried,” David Henry said.

Fort Myers City Council is exploring the idea. At a Community Redevelopment Agency meeting on Wednesday, city council member Darla Bonk raised the idea of having the CRA help fund the million-dollar idea.

leaders consider burying power lines in downtown fort myers
Downtown Fort Myers parking. CREDIT: WINK News

“I’ve been doing a three-mile walk, zigzagging through downtown almost every morning, and I could tell you seeing the power lines, it’s like, this doesn’t really do justice to our downtown,” Mayor Kevin Anderson said during the meeting.

“There is a cost of $1.2 million. I would like to see the CRA consider covering some if not all of that cost at 400 grand a year over three years to help these developers with that project,” Darla Bonk said.

Councilman Liston Bochette said burying the power lines won’t just help with the look of the area but much more. He said if it had been done sooner, it would have been cheaper.

“It adds to property values and protects us against hurricanes and storms. A downed power line is far more dangerous than an underground power line,” Bochette said. “Had we done it six months ago, it would have been under $1 million. So, the longer we wait, the more the price goes up [the] faster than the rate of inflation. So, we need to get this done. We need to set a trend, and we can expand it across the board. Someday, the whole city should be underground.”

Although there are benefits, not everyone is a fan of the idea of city leaders considering burying the power lines in downtown Fort Myers—specifically business owners downtown like Raimond Arlun.

“The biggest concern I have about burying the lines is really I don’t see a lot of lines. There’s a couple of main overheads and run around. But just digging up the lines and shutting off the roads, is going to go on through that process of construction process is going to be really bad for the already suffering businesses in a weak economy offseason,” Arlun said.

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