Times Square Project Delayed

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The renovation of Times Square, which was originally slated to begin on April 15th 2023 has now been pushed back to July 2023, after the 4th of July holiday. Times Square is the only project of the “Big Three” yet to begin. Here’s the reason for the delay.

You may recall that Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a $1 million grant Town Manager Roger Hernstadt, and Mayor Ray Murphy had been touting for the Times Square project. However, they were bragging about the grant before the Governor signed the budget. He then vetoed the grant. That veto left Times Square businesses wondering what was going on with the project and when it might start.

Hernstadt has informed the Town Council that the Florida Department of Transportation’s Adopted Work Program for FY2023- FY2027 includes $1 million for Times Square. It was adopted by DeSantis last month.

The reason the project is being pushed back to begin in July rather than April has everything to do with politics. FDOT will not fund a Governor vetoed project – the $1 million grant DeSantis rejected – in the same fiscal year.

While what the state approved is a 4-year funding plan, the Times Square money was scheduled for year one.
Several years ago, a previous Fort Myers Beach town council borrowed $10 million to renovate Times Square, rehabilitate Bayside Park and build a new Bay Oaks recreational facility. The Bayside Park project was recently completed at a cost of $950,000. The Bay Oaks project is now underway and is expected to cost at least $6 million, not including staff, fixtures, furniture or equipment for the new building. Times Square has not even seen a fresh coat of paint since before COVID. Times Square business owners say they’ve had very little input on the planned renovations and receive little to no input about the project from town staff.

The new look Times Square

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. You think the town could, barrow the moneys on a short term a loan to start the project earlier. That way it would be completed at or about the same time as the grand opening of Margarita Ville.
    Then have an Island wide Party to Celebrate !!!! But as a newcomer to island politics, I’m learning nothing happens around here unless its done half/ass backwards.

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