Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy wants to take over Estero Boulevard from Lee County. Of course, along with that, comes the upkeep, maintenance and every other cost associated with owning one of the most traveled roads in Lee County. Here’s why Murphy wants that road.
The Mayor is clearly frustrated with having to work with Lee County about lights, bus stops, sidewalks, crosswalks, anything related to Estero Boulevard. He’s now in negotiations with Lee County to try to get the county to contribute funding to install amber lights on Estero Boulevard (see next story).
Murphy made his plea to take ownership of the road at a joint council/public safety committee meeting on Thursday. “I’ve been saying this ever since the town incorporated. It is absurd for the town of Fort Myers Beach not to own Estero Boulevard. We wouldn’t be sitting here having all these discussions, month after month, year after year, if we owned the Boulevard. This town should own Estero Boulevard.”
Estero Boulevard traffic is also on the minds of, not only Murphy, but the entire town council. During their Tuesday meeting, when council member Jim Atterholt asked Lee County Transportation Engineer Rob Phelan about different ways to move people safely across Estero Boulevard and keep the traffic flowing, such as guardrails and walkovers, Atterholt later on in the meeting said Phelan “poo pooed a lot of the ideas.”
Mayor Murphy would prefer not to have the road just yet. “When the county is done bringing it up to the standards that it should have been so many years ago, that’s the time to take Estero Boulevard. I’m going to keep saying it and I know some people don’t agree with me but we wouldn’t be beating up ourselves over all these issues if the town owned it’s own main street. That’s my opinion and I’m sure there’s support for that amongst some other people on the beach.”
Lee County says the Estero Boulevard road reconstruction project cost an estimated $80 million.
The county also owns Lynn Hall Park, Bowdich Park and Crescent Beach where the volleyball courts are.