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North Fort Myers Median Project a Success

North Fort Myers Median Project a Success

Several local organizations have come together to help make one community service project a reality. Fifty volunteers from Lee County Electric Cooperative, Lee County Department of Transportation and Lee County Roadway Landscaping Advisory Committee and 4-H worked together Saturday morning to plant more than 400 wildflowers on the medians at Bayshore and Slater Road.

After an active community member and longtime Lee County Roadway Landscape Advisory Committee member contacted Lee County DOT with the desire to landscape a North Fort Myers median, the project was put into action despite a lack of funding and source of labor.

Upon hearing about the project, DOT was eager to help and find a way to make it work against the grain. “Although we are very limited in funds, we will do what we can to make the project successful in serving the community,” said Pat Moore, staff engineer and landscape architect for Lee County DOT.

Because of these local businesses’ commitment to the community, the project was a success. With funds provided by Lee County DOT, the Florida Wildflower foundation, La Florida, Land of Flower Community Grant Program and the local Cocoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, 472 wildflowers were purchased. Organic soil was donated by Mychorrhizal products to ensure longevity of the plants.

Community member Betty Tillis then contacted LCEC for help, a North Fort Myers business located off Bayshore Road. LCEC reached out internally and externally to solicit volunteers for the project. ECHO and 4-H were solicited for the expertise and happily volunteered their time to the project, furthering their commitment to the community and the environment. Lee County DOT was fundamental in implementing the project and provided tools, safety vests and guidance for the project.

Because the project interfered with a Carter/Pritchett Advertising billboard, the advertising company offered to have a landscape architect put a plan together as their contribution, allowing plants to be grown in the view zone without hindering the billboard’s message. In addition, store manager John Judge of Walgreens allowed all volunteers to park their vehicles in the store lot during the time of the project, adding another contributor.

“Although this little project is insignificant in our efforts to landscape 184 miles of roadway in Lee County, the part we are most grateful for is the opportunity to work with LCEC, Betty, and Carter/Pritchett along with the volunteers to enhance the appearance of this corridor in our community,” Moore said.

Because of this collaboration, North Fort Myers residents and employees can enjoy a more beautifully landscaped roadway. The colorful red, yellow and blue wildflowers will enhance the area and demonstrate a local partnership that made a beautiful contribution to improving the community.

“Our hope is that project’s like this one that involves LCEC and others from the community will generate a greater appreciation for landscaping on the corridor and build pride in the volunteers along with the community as a whole,” Moore said.

LCEC partners with local organizations to beautify North Fort Myers median

In a collaborative effort to beautify the community, LCEC has partnered with Lee County Department of Transportation, Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), Lee County Roadway Landscape Advisory Committee and Carter-Pritchett Advertising to install native Florida wildflowers on the medians located at Bayshore and Slater Road. The project will take place Saturday, July 16 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  

Funding for the wildflowers was provided by the Florida Wildflower Foundation, La Florida, Community Grant Program, Florida Native Plant Society Coccoloba Chapter and Lee County DOT in an effort to plant and preserve Florida wildflowers.  When used in an urban landscape, native wildflowers add color, texture and excitement to any garden palette. On roadsides, they help control erosion, decrease mowing and add beauty to the drive, according to the Florida Wildflower Foundation.

The benefits of the beautification project are:

  • Landscaping projects promote a definite increase in self esteem and a decrease in vandalism
  • Vegetation creates close-knit communities, improves well-being and increases safety
  • Greening of business districts increases community pride and positive perception of an area
  • The project promotes community service for the betterment of local residents and employees
  • Vegetation removes smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air
  • A number of publications, including Smart Money Magazine, declare that landscaping can improve property value
  • Roadside Studies by the University of Washington stated that drivers indicated it was easier to locate roadside businesses when they were framed by trees and vegetation
  • Research has shown that employees with an outside view of plants experience less job pressure and greater job satisfaction

This small act of community service can create a great impact for local residents and businesses.

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