That’s what town staff told the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Advisory Committee earlier this week. The design is 90% complete and the Town Council will decide on whether to sign off on the project and proceed when it meets next week. Permitting would be the next step in the process.
As part of the redevelopment of Bay Oaks, the town swapped land with the Lee County School district and agreed to pay for improvements to the property owned by the school district around the beach school. Those improvements are being made by town staff now. Bay Oaks and the beach school are adjacent to one another.
Improvements the town is making for the school are: constructing a new outdoor basketball court, sidewalks, installing a covered parking structure and repaving a parking lot. The town will also be installing a new playground structure.
Improvements to the 15-acre park facility include:
A new building
Two ball fields with lighting
Improved entrance and exit for pedestrians and vehicles
Outdoor basketball, pickleball, tennis courts
A stage for concerts and events
There will also be a new outdoor fitness area installed not too far from Estero Boulevard.
It’s unknown exactly how much the entire Bay Oaks project will cost. What is known is that there will not be enough money in the $10 million loan to pay for this project and the other two major town upgrades (Bayside Park and Times Square). The town did receive a $1 million grant late last year to put toward the project and will continue to look for other grants to help pay for the upgrades to Bay Oaks.
Last month the town council voted to use some of its $3.5 million federal COVID relief money for water and stormwater work at Bay Oaks, Times Square and Bayside Park. What the three projects will ultimately cost the taxpayers has been a moving target. Part of the blame is being placed on the rising prices on construction materials.
Back in late 2021 Town Manager Roger Hernstadt the Bay Oaks project was between 15% and 25% over its multi-million budget and would be done in segments to try to address the budget issue.
Last month Hernstadt made it crystal clear more money would be needed to fund the three projects. About Bay Oaks he said the town has no money to put anything in the building. “It’s going to be a beautiful building without a chair to sit on.”