By Cecil Pendergrass
Lee County continues to draw in more visitors, full time residents and businesses each year. We are thriving and it is my priority to keep up with that growth while maintaining our quality of life.
It was my honor to be invited by President Trump and the White House to participate in their Leadership Regional Conference, which also coincided with the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Federal Conference. This was a great opportunity to meet with our federal delegation members and agencies to advocate for Lee County priorities, such as Flood Protection, Water Quality and Transportation. It has been over 2 years since Irma hit our community, but we can all remember the damage it left behind. The County urges Congress to approve a comprehensive National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Flood mapping guideline that are aimed at protecting our citizens when facing natural disasters. Lee County continues to do our part and fund a robust Water Quality program for our local waterways. I met with Congressman Greg Steube (FL-D17) and the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the Everglades Restoration, Herbert Hoover Dike and Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), and Harmful Algal Blooms. Water Quality improvements involves working together with multiple agencies towards proactive solutions. We must fund the projects that are in place, like the Herbert Hoover Dike and C-43 Reservoir, and work with our partners at the Federal, State and local levels. At the end of the day, decisions based on comprehensive strategy and factual information will move us forward. As growth is inevitable, we must meet the infrastructure demands. Lee County continues to be good stewards of our tax dollars and funding for local projects. We urge our counterparts at the federal level to prioritize funding for roadways in high-growth areas and to address the high cost of infrastructure in our growing economy.
Lee County also continues to work with the State to address transportation and infrastructure demands. I was recently appointed by FDOT Secretary Thibault to serve on the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force. The Florida Legislature established the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-Cores) program to address transportation and infrastructure needs throughout the State. The Southwest-Central Connector is one of three corridors that will be studied, extending from Collier County to Polk County. This program will improve transportation and public safety while protecting our natural environment for the whole State of Florida. We will be meeting several times over the next year with a final report due to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature by October 1, 2020. For more information about the program, visit http://floridamcores.com/.
Locally, we continue to see major road projects progressing. The completed SR 82 intersection at Lee Boulevard to Shawnee Road has already improved traffic flow and congestion. Left to complete this major roadway is the widening to four lanes from Alabama Road to the Lee/Hendry County Line. This phase is expected for completion by the end of 2020. The most important part of this project is Florida’s first Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI), located at Daniels Parkway and Gunnery Road. Continuous flow and multiple signals will ease congestion at the intersection and reduce turn delays- resulting in an improved and enhanced transportation network. This improvement also provides for a more efficient and safer accessibility for commercial entities and customers, thus enhancing the business community.
I am also pleased to report that the Homestead Road project continues to advance with widening to four lanes south of Sunrise Boulevard and north of Alabama Road, including six-foot sidewalks on both sides. This project is expected for completion by this winter. We also continue our Countywide Road Resurfacing Program, with 100+ roadways in Lehigh up for repaving. For more information on County Transportation and Roadways, please visit https://www.leegov.com/dot.
My office continues to work with the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District (LA-MSID) on important community improvement projects like Harns Marsh and GS-10. I accepted Commissioner Mike Welch’s invitation to attend their Holiday Town Hall in December and I look forward to what is always a great turnout and discussion on important issues. I also want to thank Commissioner Welch’s leadership at the Municipal District.As a lifelong resident, born and raised in Lee County, it remains an honor to serve you. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can ever be of assistance. I can be reached by phone at (239) 533-2227 or by email at Dist2@leegov.com. I wish you a Happy Holiday season!