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Civic & Community Corner: Civic Association always invites new members
February 14, 2018

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The North Fort Myers Civic Association was set to meet on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at its usual location - , Rooms 102A and B at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center - to fill five positions for director on our 12-member Board of Directors.

As always, we invite new members to please join this very worthwhile organization to help turn Our Town around. Dues are only ten smackers a year, $15 for a family of up to three and $35 for businesses, which includes posting your business card on our website for the year. You'll meet new people, stimulate your brain, get some leadership training and get involved in helping to make NFM a better place in which to live, work and play!

The Civic Association also did the following:

1. Held a "social" on Friday, Jan. 19, consisting of going as a group on the free trolley to attend "Music walk", always the third Friday of the month, along First Street in the River District of Fort Myers. We assembled in a trolley at 6 p.m. at the corner of N. Key Drive and Rt. 41 at Che Tito's Argentinian Steakhouse, took the trolley over the bridge to First Street, walked up and down six or so blocks where music acts of all genres- pop, jazz, blues, rock and roll, folk, rap, Dixieland, country, whatever- played on street corners, in or at the entranceways of numerous restaurants, bars and galleries as well as at Plaza DeLeon, all free of charge to the public. We watched the revelry, saw downtown at night, heard some great music, participated in this "happening" and had some laughs, fun and camaraderie. Our chairperson, new member Michelle Ayers, who is also a professional clown, "Mitchie the Clown", dressed in her distinct makeup and getup, led our delegation, small because of the freezing weather, but enthusiastic!

2. Emphasized dues collection from our 150 members. Each of our 12 directors were assigned to contact 13 members and Membership Chair Rudy Berndlmaier coordinated the function.

3. Participated in "Gumbofest" at Shell Factory, where our good friends and members, Tom Cronin, Ric Tupper and Richard Dunmire allow us to have a table gratis so we could meet new friends, distribute our pamphlets, answer questions and distribute materials on NFM. Representing the Civic Association were Dora Miller, Larry Murphy, Rudy Berndlmaier, Yours Truly, Danny and Debra Ballard, Doug Dailey and Mark Lipton.

4. I sent a letter to our County Commissioners protesting and asking a reconsideration of the decision to allow a central sewer exemption for Realmark Storage warehouse on Rt. 41 south of Del Prado across from Shoppes of Del Prado. Mark Lipton composed the letter and I touched it up and sent it.

5. I sent an email to the five county commissioners praising them for their efforts in passing the enabling legislation for the $2 million incentive reimbursement for the mixed-use overlay area of NFM.

The NFM Community Planning Panel and NFM Design Review Panel met jointly on Feb. 6 and considered two applications to continue existing uses for: 1.) Applebee's Restaurant at Merchants Crossing to continue the weekly classic auto shows which required an Amendment to include a deviation to Section 34-43-24-03-0000A.0000 of the NFM Land Development Code; and 2.) Royal Palm Sailing Club at Moody River, seeking an Administrative Zoning Amendment to continue functioning at its nice facility. Both applications were approved.

I would be remiss if I closed without acknowledging the stellar work being done by Maryanne Howard as President of the fledgling Lee County Arts Center in North Fort Myers. She and her group of about 20 enthusiasts have designed a logo, are setting up a website, applying for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service thanks to the gratis legal work of Mark Lipton and seeking a temporary rented or donated headquarters. They have enlisted the assistance of Rachel Bush, Strategic Projects, Lee County Economic Development Office, the gal I call "Mrs. North Fort Myers" because of her inspired leadership at the helm of all of Lee County's efforts on behalf of our fair town.

And speaking of Rachel Bush, I am pleased to announce that the Annual Town Hall Meeting sponsored by the NFM Community Planning Panel will take place on Wednesday eve, March 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rooms 102 A and B, NFM Rec Center and will feature Commissioner Brian Hamman, the aforesaid Rachel Bush, a presentation by Dennis J. Fullenkamp, local realtor and developer and Attorney Chuck Bassinait on behalf of "Paradise Isles", the largest and most expensive development in the history of NFM. They are using the same architects from Sarasota that designed Tarpon Point in Cape Coral and are developing what used to be Lochmoor Estates and Marina at the western edge of NFM and their plans are to widen Orange Grove Boulevard with two rotaries to handle the traffic. Their grandiose vision is to create a "destination" with a first-class hotel, high rises, condos, restaurants, shops, and single-family residences, while improving the marina and refurbishing the golf course. We sure hope they succeed and we wish them well. The program will end with an open meeting of the "Communities" of NFM featuring leaders of some of the 55 communities and neighborhoods that we have identified in NFM discussing some common problems, solutions and ideas. In all, it should be an interesting and informative evening and we hope to see you there.

PUBLIC APATHY IS THE PLAGUE OF THE 21ST CENTURY! VOLUNTEER - IT'S GOOD FOR THE MIND AND THE HEART." - MIKE LAND

Contact me at 239-823-3631 or mike.nfmca@gmail.com if you have some event, project or idea that you would like in this column, or with any comments or questions. Visit northfortmyerscivicassociation.com.

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