About a week ago we learned that The Lee County Sheriff’s department had entered into a month-to-month lease with TPI for the building at 101 Estero Boulevard. Everyone on the beach was under the impression it was going to be a new Lee County Sheriff substation. That turned out to be incorrect.
Captain Andy Prisco spoke at the Monday Town Council meeting to clarify. “The substation is off Pine Ridge Road and that houses all the deputies that respond to calls for service to everybody here on Fort Myers Beach. There are also two deputies permanently assigned to Fort Myers Beach. That (101 Estero Boulevard) will not be somewhere we will be dispatching calls out of. That will be an outreach center. It will be staffed by a volunteer or a citizen or there may be a deputy in there. We have a lot of programs we can put on from there. We can answer any questions. We may even share it with the Chamber as some sort of a Welcome Center. We definitely want to get more involved in the community. We want to be here. We want to meet with all of the business owners and that will be the hub we do that out of.”
Town Councilman Dan Allers told Beach Talk Radio News he’d been having discussions with Sheriff Carmine Marceno about a beach substation for quite awhile. “Once we spoke, I started thinking of places that would work. The TPI location was the only place that made sense. I showed them a couple of other buildings but they really liked the 101 Estero Blvd location. Then I worked with LCSO and TPI to make it a reality. Once they were in, I went to work trying to find community partners to help offset the cost of construction because it’s a temporary location. I reached out to several businesses and the Chamber for help. Everyone I talked to said yes right away.”
However, it seemed like even Allers may have been caught off guard by what the building will be used for. An Outreach Center is not the same as a substation.
Some of the companies that donated time and supplies to transform the empty building into the substation include: Spruce Refrigeration, Reflow Plumbing, Scott Allan Development, Beach Boys AC, Sea Gypsy Inn, The Whale, Goodz and Gavins Ace Hardware.
As the community knows, the TPI/Margaritaville project is involved in more litigation. The property at 101 Estero is part of that project. The Sheriff’s department can use that building until that property is needed for the project.
The Sheriff’s department is hoping to have the outreach center open by September 1 at the latest.