FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   

Contact:   John Yarbrough, Lee County Parks & Recreation
                (941) 461-7410



 FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 18, 2002) – At its regular meeting Tuesday (April 23), The Board of Lee County Commissioners will consider the purchase of 62 acres for a new community park south of Fort Myers. 

The land is located across Summerlin Road from Lexington Country Club at 1673 Bass Road.  George C. Kalemeris, trustee, and Joanne C. Holt, trustee, own the tracts making up the site.  The asking price is $2.63 million. 

An agreement is anticipated between the Lee County School Board and the county, which would provide about 15 acres of the parcel for a future potential school site.  The county and school district would jointly develop the park/school site, creating savings for both. 

Construction probably wouldn’t start for two-to-three years because the park impact fee money collected in that district (District 4) will be depleted with the purchase.  The district is collecting about $60,000 a month in impact fees.  In addition, a public input/workshop process to plan what will be included in the park would need to take place. 

The new park will relieve some of the pressure on the heavily used Rutenberg Community Park. 

Lee County’s Parks & Recreation Department maintains and operates 3,500 acres of developed park land, 14 centers, 9 pools, five boat ramps, three Gulf beach parks, one lakefront beach, 76 beach accesses, 60 tennis courts, 73 ballfields, and 13 preserves.  The department also manages the more than 7,500 acres of environmentally sensitive lands the county has purchased in the last five years through its Conservation 2020 Program.  Its fiscal year 2002 operating budget is $16.2 million. 

The Parks System gained national accreditation last year and is a 2002 National Gold Medal Award Finalist.