Great to see Mayor Henderson's commentary in News-Press highlighting the importance of the upcoming Oct. 15th symposium on Walkable Urban Communities. Thanks to the Mayor and City Council for sponsoring this exciting event. If you haven't already signed up, CLICK HERE to learn more and to register.
News-Press, Sept. 5, 2015
Commentary by Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson
Your ticket will include breakfast and lunch and will feature 10 renowned national and local speakers on urbanism, walkable cities, best practices for quality of life, and more. Some months ago I enlisted the support of my Colleagues on Council to host this Symposium and it is timely and relevant. You will also hear what is new and exciting on the horizon and who is doing what.
Expect to learn about walkable communities, multimodal, placemaking, complete streets, traditional neighborhoods, etc. As I attend conferences and learn about these topics in great cities across the country, it is more and more apparent that we are evolving in our city and region in positive ways and we are on tract to be considered by Baby Boomers and Millennials alike as a high quality place to choose to live, work, and play. In particular the younger population is growing and the trend indicates this will be the case for the foreseeable future, a welcomed event for sure. Thirty six years ago when I graduated from College in North Carolina, I bucked the trend at that time to move here and start a life, marrying, and raising three children in a place I have always considered paradise. While I may be older today, back then I saw no reason to wait until I retired to come and experience this beautiful place, and glad that I have, and continue to do so.
Three world class speakers together with a panel of Florida based experts will discuss the diverse components of attracting and supporting successful urban development. Special topic forums on finance and Government’s role are planned. Discussions will range from land valuation, economic advantages, ROI, to the viability of local visions and plans. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will lead a noon hour conversation with Mayors. Communities in SW Florida have been preparing to take full advantage of this growing market preference. As an example, Fort Myers has invested public money in infrastructure and curb appeal of approximately $70 plus million in the core of the city downtown, and has witnessed $600 million in private investing with some $400 million more planned within the next 36 months as the overall economy shows encouraging signs of growth and consumer confidence.
Cape Coral, the largest city in the region is moving forward with its exciting Bimini Basin Vision, replete with shaded walk-ability and transit station as central public space. The village of Estero is laying out its future and vision with great detail and contemplation to inspire the best in their city. Bonita Springs has for years rolled out its plan and today is positioned to experience high quality growth. Fort Myers Beach is preparing for improvements that will modernize and prepare for a high quality experience as well as Sanibel, and of course the great city of Naples. The region is attractive and the future is bright. With 412 cities in Florida, the Symposium will examine how these cities will emerge over the decades ahead.
It is time to pause in a busy world, take stock in our work, learn interact, network in one of the most dynamic regions of the United States, Southwest Florida. Please plan to join us at Harborside on October 15. Please visit cityftmyers.com or eventbrite.com to register on-line.
Randall P. Henderson is mayor of the City of Fort Myers.
See BikeWalkLee's August 23rd blog: Register for Oct. 15th Walkable Urban Communities Symposium