By Cecil Pendergrass
The Lee Board of County Commission is now in our July recess until we return for our next scheduled Board meeting on August 6. Even though there are no County Commission meetings during this time, my office has a busy schedule ahead.
Is there a better way to start the summer than by attending a 104th birthday party? Staff from Lehigh Acres Place contacted my office with an invitation on behalf of Mrs. Gwendolyn Hutchinson to attend her 104th Birthday celebration. Without hesitation, I accepted and surprised Mrs. Hutchinson with a Ceremonial Resolution from the Board in honor of her special day. In 30 plus years of public service as a former Law Enforcement Officer and now as an elected official, I can honestly say this was one of the most memorable experiences, for which I will never forget.
As we head into the summer months, we must remain cautious and prepared for Florida weather. County staff from Natural Resources and Transportation were the featured speakers at a community forum this week, providing a detailed overview of the past Hurricane season and the County’s actions to address the storm’s aftermath and efforts to mitigate future impacts. Lee County will be ready should we have another natural disaster like Hurricane Irma. I also participated in an impressive Hurricane Preparation Meeting on July 11th at the Lehigh Acres Municipal District. The conference was hosted by Lehigh Acres Municipal District Commissioner Mike Welch and the District. It was impressive on the number of wonderful community leaders who came together to prepare Lehigh in the event of another storm. Other officials from around the county attended as well including Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. Commissioner Mike Welch has demonstrated his hard work and commitment to the Lehigh Acres Community and I thank him and the District.
To continue my education on key environmental issues, I will attend the 33rd Annual Environmental Permitting Conference. The conference is a three-day crash course organized by the Florida Environmental Network. We will get updates on water resource management, gulf restoration and State and Federal water policies, to name a few. This is a great opportunity to hear from nationally recognized experts on environmental issues and challenges, both local and State wide.
We have some exciting plans on the horizon at RSW International Airport. After our Port Board Commission meeting, we held a Workshop to discuss long range planning for the airport. As the Port Board, we approved a $175 million expansion for airport services, with funding provided by user fees and federal grants from the FAA, and NOT from local tax dollars! Visitors to the airport will start to see updates and improvements in the near future.
I always enjoy meeting with local citizens Countywide. I was recently in Pine Manor for their “Thank You” event, showing appreciation for local Law Enforcement and for funding from the County Commission. The residents have taken great strides to improve their community and I look forward to acknowledging their great work. The following day I was in South Lee County speaking with residents about the County’s initiative to protect their best interests in making our Comprehensive Plan Amendment stronger and more defensible in Court, should the County reject a Mining application. Also, this weekend I will join our deputies to celebrate the Lee County Sheriff’s new substation at Miromar Outlets. We must have a Law Enforcement presence in these high volume areas for the protection of our residents and visitors.
As transportation and infrastructure remains a top priority, I am pleased to attend and speak at the upcoming ribbon cutting for the State’s very FIRST Continuous Flow Intersection at SR 82 and Gunnery Road. The County Commission worked hard with leadership from the Florida House and Senate as well as the Lehigh Acres Municipal District to push this project ahead of schedule for the safety of all travelers. Again, I have to thank Lehigh Acres Municipal District Commissioner Mike Welch for his hard work and leadership as well as his colleagues on the District Board of Commissioners.
I look forward to a productive July recess, traveling throughout the County, meeting and discussing issues with residents and business owners. It remains an honor to serve and represent ALL Lee County residents! Please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 239-533-2227.