On Monday, the Fort Myers Beach Town Council approved a contract with Wright Construction of Fort Myers to upgrade Bayside Park located between Nervous Nellie’s and Snug Harbor. The cost of the project will be $885,346 and the work is expected to begin around January 1st.
The Bayside Park improvements are one of three major projects being undertaken as part of the Fort Myers Beach Renaissance. Times Square will also be upgraded and Bay Oaks Recreational Complex will undergo a major reconstruction. The town borrowed $10 million to put toward the three projects.
Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafross voiced her disapproval that the town tree – The Gumbo Limbo – was excluded from the park project. The tree, which is quite large, would have blocked the view coming down Old San Carlos if it was installed in the center of the park. And, there is so much underground infrastructure in the park that it could not be moved to another area of the park without it costing about $100,000. So for now, no Gumbo Limbo Tree in Bayside Park.
Wright Construction was the sole bidder for the project. Town manager Roger Hernstadt negotiated their original bid of $1.5 million down to $885,346.
The area now has an old Gazebo, which at times is used by the homeless, and a concrete pit area that used to be a fountain.
The project includes a stage, hardscape paving, shade structures, motorized trellises and landscaping. According to the contract, the landscaping will include artificial turf, cordgrass, muhly grass, shell mulch, 2 coconut palms and no gumbo limbo’s. 9 palm trees will be removed.
An area is also being set aside for some sort of Veterans Memorial. A group of veterans, led by Forest Critser, has been meeting to come up with a plan for the memorial. Town Manager Roger Hernstadt said the town has a back-up plan for a memorial if the group is unable to bring one forward.
Once the project begins it’s expected to take 210 days to complete.