The Big I

Butch Swank

By Butch Swank

I have lived in Lehigh Acres since 2004. Many have lived here much longer than me, and we’re so very lucky to have thousands that are brand new to our community. One unique aspect of Lehigh is that it’s a huge area. It was originally planned in the 1960s but was done so with little regard to future growth. Fast forward to the current day, and many of the oversights of the past are being painfully felt now. We have no local police department. We cannot create and manage our own parks. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more parks everywhere to take walks and have the kids play outdoors? We have very little representation in how the government of Lee County makes decisions and spends our tax dollars. We have long been ignored in the funding of new schools and the financial support of our cherished teachers. We have little say in what new businesses are built here and what types of new business we actually want here. Do you know what can address all of these problems?

It’s the Big I – Incorporation. If Lehigh Acres could create our own local government, we could address everything I addressed above and so much more. As President of the Southwest Florida Business Alliance, I plan to bring this subject to the table at our next meeting in January. Now, this has been tried in the past and has failed each time. But, our community has matured, and I believe the time is right for us to have a say in how our neighborhood is run and how our tax dollars get spent. Incorporation is not something that happens overnight. I will gauge how my colleagues at the Southwest Florida Business Alliance feel about the idea at our meeting, and I ask everyone reading this to begin thinking about it, too. I’m a firm believer in win-win negotiating and want what’s best for our community. Incorporation, to me, seems like a great idea, but a good leader must be open to all thoughts and considerations on the subject. The Good Lord knows I am most certainly not always right, which is why getting feedback is so important. Put in its simplest form, I think we should all be able to eat at a Cheddar’s or a Longhorn Steakhouse without having to drive 45 minutes. But, with the backing of the community, and our business and community leaders, I believe we can all get Incorporation done.

For comments, please reach out to Butch Swank at:

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