Bay Beach Lane adding recreation, staying green | News, Sports, Jobs – FORT MYERS

Jim Domres, President of the Estero Bay Improvement Association (at center with microphone) leads Bay Beach Lane residents and Town of Fort Myers Beach councilmembers in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and champagne toast at the community’s yoga garden for the dedication of open space at the former golf course for tennis courts, bocce ball courts, pickleball courts, putting greens, chipping greens, a driving cage and walking path. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

A cattle egret walks around the open space at Bay Beach Lane. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

A baby cattle egret wanders in the open space on Bay Beach Lane near the area where a walking path and other recreational spaces will be placed. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Dozens of residents from Bay Beach Lane attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce the start of work on tennis courts, bocce ball courts, pickleball courts, a walking path, chipping greens and putting greens on open space where the former Fort Myers Beach Golf Course stands. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony announcing the commencement of the construction of recreational outlets at Bay Beach Lane. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

The Estero Bay Improvement Association pledged to preserve 57 acres of green space off Bay Beach Lane, part of which will be used for tennis courts, pickleball courts, putting greens and chipping greens. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

The former Fort Myers Beach Golf Course on Bay Beach Lane. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

There are more than 1,200 people residing at homes on Bay Beach Lane in Fort Myers Beach. Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Standing in the shade underneath a tree with a lot of character in their yoga garden with glasses of champagne, the residents of Bay Beach Lane and Estero Bay Improvement Association board members sealed a commitment they made to the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council more than 20 years ago.

An agreement to secure their slice of paradise while pledging to preserve 57 acres of green space into perpetuity in exchange for approval of the high-rise condominium towers by the town council was made then. Two decades later, more than 1,200 people own homes on Bay Beach Lane in the towers overlooking the panoramic views of Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a group of dozens of residents toasted the launching of plans to construct recreational activity space around the area where an old 18-hole golf course once stood.

The Estero Bay Improvement Association (EBIA) board announced this month the commencement of a four-month project to construct two tennis courts, two bocce ball courts, six pickleball courts, golf chipping green, driving cage and a putting green on land which was once known as the Fort Myers Beach Golf Course. An eight-foot wide, 1.2 mile path around a pond, along the former golf course will allow for walking, running and biking.

“It was a big investment,” said EBIA President Jim Domres.

“The day has finally come to get it done,” Domres said, before a champagne toast in the garden and ribbon-cutting in a joint ceremony with the EBIA board and Fort Myers Beach councilmembers.

“There are two rules for success. Get started and keep going, ” Domres said.

Domres said the association waited for the completion of the Estero Boulevard reconstruction project before getting started. “Before the road project, all the water (during a storm) would fly across here,” he said. With the stormwater drainage improvements, the water is now collected at the curb.

“We get a lot of water in the rainy season,” Domres said.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt was thanked by the association for helping the board navigate its way through the permitting process to get the project started in a timely fashion.

“The town worked closely with the design team to facilitate the project,” Hernstadt said.

“It’s a nice place for residents to come,” Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy said.

“When they got the original approvals, this had to stay green,” Murphy said. Murphy, who was on the council at the time the agreement was struck, said the 57 acres owned by the association will “Stay green forever.”

The association is hopeful the project will be completed this summer.

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