A groundbreaking ceremony took place Thursday for a new high-rise condominium in downtown Fort Myers – despite concerns from the National Park Service and Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection. The Vue is a 27-story high-rise that will sit on about a third of an acre of Centennial Park. It’s already been approved by the Fort Myers City Council. When the National Park Service reviewed the project – it informed the Florida DEP of a number of concerns – including the need for an Environmental Assessment. Then on Wednesday, the DEP sent the City of Fort Myers a letter relaying those concerns. Agency spokesman—Matthew Mitchell—says there’s nothing wrong with a groundbreaking, as long as it’s purely ceremonial.
“The groundbreaking was news to me. A groundbreaking is a publicity event…if they’re bringing out booms & cranes and digging a major project I would be concerned…but a press event I’m not too concerned with. But I would recommend that they get the letter and take a look at it and respond before they get into anything with lasting effects.”
Besides asking for an Environmental Assessment – the DEP also wants details on Centennial Park’s original boundaries – and how the project will affect its use. Fort Myers Mayor – Jim Humphrey – supports going ahead with the project. He told WINK-TV – “The bottom line is, the State & Federal government don’t have the authority to say no.” – end quote.
Friday, 03 June 2005 01:00