FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   

Contact:   Pete Winton, Lee County Administration, (941) 335-2777




FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 26, 2002) – The Board of Lee County Commissioners today approved the following items during its regular weekly meeting.  They are: 

Hurricane Shelter – Approved an interlocal agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University to use the FGCU Teaching Gym, to be called Alico Arena, as a hurricane shelter.  The county will pay $947,296 to make the necessary upgrades during construction.  The 110,000-square-foot, $13-million Alico Arena is part of the new sports complex being built at FGCU, which is expected to open in October. 

The facility will offer an additional 1,838 shelter spaces to house residents when hurricanes threaten the area.  This represents about a 5 percent reduction in the county’s current hurricane shelter deficit of 38,000 spaces. 

The county currently has about 27,192 shelter spaces during a Category 3 hurricane.  The largest shelter is TECO Arena with 6,500 spaces.  Alico Arena would be the second largest shelter in the county. 

For more information, contact county Public Safety Director John Wilson at 335-1601.


Swampmeister – Approved the purchase of a Kaiser 2002 S2.2 Gator “Swampmeister,” a $215,000 piece of equipment that the county Department of Transportation uses to clean canals and ditches. 

The Swampmeister, or Spyder, is one of two the county has to maintain drainage canals that are difficult to clean by conventional means.  It has four, independently operated legs that allows it to straddle ditches, get in the ditches, or even climb fences.  It also has a large claw that can clean muck and debris from ditches (see the picture from the Kaiser web page below). 

The county’s Transportation Department maintains 300 miles of primary drainage canals, 3,000 culverts and storm sewers, and 4,000 miles of secondary stormwater system.  The county is paying $190,000 for the equipment because of a $25,000 trade-in on an older model.


NOTE: For media outlets wanting photo opportunities, the county’s Spyder is operating this week on the west side of McGregor Woods off of Old McGregor Blvd.  For more information, contact Paul Wingard at 694-3334 or 479-8545.