The Excitement in Lehigh Acres

By: Butch Swank

Fun, fun, and fun! One of the things I like best about writing these articles is highlighting some of the great things going on in Lehigh Acres. For instance, did you know Lehigh just hosted the 6th Annual Powerlifting America Southwest Florida Open Championships? It’s true. Really! My friend David Deetscreek and his business partner Samuel Trawick formed Frostbourne Strength and Fitness in 2017. Since then, they have worked their tails off not just to build a welcoming fitness center but also to host this incredible competition in our very own backyard. On a personal note, Dave Deetscreek serves with me on the Board of Directors for Lehigh Community Services. A couple of years ago, he had to miss a meeting because of a scheduling conflict – he was attending a powerlifting competition in Orlando. I asked him later if he was kidding, and it turned out he was not. Since then, he has politely but stubbornly insisted I give the competition a try. I laughed it off – I consistently work out in my garage but have no background with heavy weights. Nevertheless, Dave persisted, and I am happy to report I entered this year and came in third place for my age group. I’d prefer if you pay no mind at all to the fact that there were only three people in the category! The event was held in the clubhouse of Majestic Golf Club. What a fantastic group of supportive, friendly, positive, and, obviously, strong people! They made me feel right at home and had an absolute ball. I will be competing next year and encourage anyone even remotely interested in getting fit to contact Frostbourne. Their focus is on making you the fittest version of yourself – it’s a noble goal, and they’re truly good at it.

On to orchids! Yes, I wrote about them a few months ago, but the big day is approaching. For those that missed it, the Million Orchid Project is an organization focused on repopulating our trees with native orchids. They used to grow all over but were picked over so severely in the early 1900s that they could not recover. The organization has been solely focused on the East coast of Florida, but they’re now looking westward. I am so excited to report that my office will be the site of their first effort over here. That means sometime in May, roughly 500 orchids are going to be put into the oaks, maples, and palm trees surrounding my office. It will look amazing! We’ll need help, so please get in touch with my office to get more details for any interested plant lovers.

My final bit of excitement to report is how our community continues to grow and evolve. People are coming here in droves! With 130,000 residents, the demand for things like restaurants, fun places to visit with your kids or significant other, and even a dedicated local police presence has all risen. Currently, Lehigh Acres is technically classified as an unincorporated area. That means we have little control over our own neighborhood and those that do are primarily on the other side of I-75. Like anything in life, there are pros and cons to a more formalized version of local government. We could become one big city or have different parts of Lehigh become their own cities. Another option is to Incorporate a large chunk of Lehigh Acres. These options come with increased taxes, which is the most obvious con. The pros would be the things I mentioned earlier, like having chain restaurants and big box stores more inclined to do business here. I am inclined to favor Incorporation but, like you, would like to learn more about both sides of the story. That is why we’ve invited the Lee County Property Appraiser, Matt Caldwell, to speak at our upcoming Southwest Florida Business Alliance luncheon. I think it’s best if our local business leaders hear the arguments and process things independently. Perhaps afterward, we can form a consensus on which direction to take. Regardless, it’s pretty incredible that we’ve already come this far, and I am so excited that we have access to such a great group of achievers and thinkers.

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