Archives for Spring 2020


Citrus Park Community Vision Coming To Reality

The new, long-term vision neighborhood improvements at Citrus Park RV & Manufactured Home community are currently underway. 

As their home page states, “Citrus Park is a unique oasis situated in the heart of Southwest Florida that caters to the active lifestyle for those who want to enjoy all the Gulf Coast has to offer.” This seasonal community nestled on the eastern outskirts of the City of Bonita Springs lies quiet during the off season between April and October, then explodes with activity during season from November through March.

This 55 and over community of 3,500 plus residents on 401 acres is almost self-sufficient with their own water and wastewater treatment plants, a community center, and recreation center with large heated swimming pools for programmed activities. Outdoor recreation opportunities include tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, pètanque, horseshoe, and shuffleboard courts, a driving range, and community softball fields with a concession stand, which are all well attended each day by the seasonal residents.

Citrus Park, as its name suggests, was established in 1970 by Erich Trost as a mobile and manufactured home park and RV resort amidst the citrus groves of Southwest Florida. The ownership and management of the park was passed down over the years to family members. In 2019, the park was purchased by CMH Investment Management, LLC, and together with the management firms of Real Projectives, LLC and Murex Properties, they formed a future vision for the park. The new owners retained Johnson Engineering as their consultant to assist in the design, permitting, and construction oversight of the future site improvements. The design team realized that the aesthetic impact of initial park improvements would need to be swift and bold enough to create a buzz among residents and the local community.

Johnson Engineering’s landscape architectural design team wasted no time meeting with the larger Carlyle design team to gain a complete understanding of the future park vision. Within a week of the initial design discussions our Landscape Architecture team created a long-term phasing plan to bring Citrus Park into the 21st century. Our team presented the landscape design and irrigation plan and received immediate approval to implement the first phase of improvements. Phase 1 of the plan included improving the areas of highest visual impact for returning residents, which were along the main entry road, Trost Boulevard, and around the community’s recreational areas.

Our landscape team found that the existing hedgerows between Trost Boulevard and the existing residential homesites, retained over the years as a visual buffer, had been poorly maintained and consisted of undesirable invasive and exotic vegetation. Our team literally cleared the way for the new landscaping by quickly obtaining a tree removal permit from the City of Bonita Springs for the hedgerows along Trost Boulevard and the adjoining canals, to be replaced with a continuous, uniform, and manageable shrub hedge and shade trees, creating the backdrop for the main landscaping improvements.

The newly implemented entry drive landscaping now includes rhythmic groupings of Royal Palms reinforced by colorful native and Florida Friendly shrub massings under the new palm groupings to create the desired tropical paradise as envisioned by the new owners’ design team.

Our team also designed and permitted a new lighting plan to replace outdated lights on wooden utility poles. The new lighting plan, of decorative LED pendant lights with banners, received approval from the City and will be implemented in the next few weeks.

As the Citrus Park aesthetic improvements move forward, Johnson Engineering’s Landscape Architects will play a large role in designing landscape lighting for the newly installed plantings. The Johnson Engineering team will continue providing master planning and design services for the future improvements phases, which will encompass the existing court renovations, new play courts, lake improvements, lighting improvements, and other visual upgrades throughout the community.

The next phase of planned improvements require the support of our in-house civil engineers, electrical engineers, planners, and utility engineers to develop site plan improvements. As the Johnson Engineering team continues working to improve the parks’ amenities and infrastructure, both aesthetics and long-term maintenance will be our focus. We look forward to hearing the residents’ reactions as they begin to return to their newly renovated community this fall.

For more information, contact Jeff Nagle, RLA at [email protected].

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Two New Libraries Open in Lee County

The North Fort Myers and Bonita Springs Public Libraries are now open for readers! Last year Lee County was fortunate enough to be able to replace both aging facilities with brand new buildings.

Both libraries have more than doubled their square footage, offering patrons more room and a brighter state-of-the-art space. In addition to the new automatic materials handling system, the facilities offer public computers, as well as large meeting rooms with audiovisual capabilities. Each library now features storytime areas, gaming spaces, outdoor reading spaces, and courtyards.

Johnson Engineering was the civil engineer for these libraries, working closely with the architect, BSSW, on both projects at the same time. Our wide variety of in-house services helped expedite the project through the simultaneous coordination of the survey, design, and permitting of the parking, drainage, utilities, and other site infrastructure throughout the complexes.

We are fortunate to have been a part of these projects that have positively impacted our community. It’s great to see how important reading and literacy is to Lee County.

For more information, contact Tyler Sharpe, PE, at [email protected].

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The 35th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference

The 35th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference was hosted by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island on January 9-11, 2020. The theme for the 2020 conference was “America’s Everglades: All Hands On Deck,” an acknowledgement that all interests must work together to protect the Everglades.

A great example of the theme was displayed during one of the final panels that focused on the importance of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and sea grass to the health of our lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal marine habitats. Moderated by Brett Fitzgerald from the Angler Action Foundation, the panel covered everything from importance of SAV habitats in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River and estuary, to the massive sea grass die-offs in Florida Bay from the lack of freshwater flows to the estuaries. David Ceilley, Senior Aquatic Ecologist at Johnson Engineering, has been working on restoration of SAV habitat in the Caloosahatchee River since 2002 and presented the results of several pilot studies and a much larger ongoing effort with the Angler Action Foundation and Sea & Shoreline, with State Funding of $1,000,000. One common element in all the presentations was the importance of building and maintaining partnerships in order to raise awareness, make progress towards restoration, and most importantly, to obtain political support and the critical funding needed to protect and restore habitat.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the SAV restoration projects that Johnson Engineering is involved with, please contact David Ceilley at [email protected].

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Create an Online Map System with Little to no GIS Staff

Johnson Engineering offers ArcGIS online mobile mapping solutions. We were the first Florida company to achieve ESRI’s ArcGIS Online Specialty level recognition. We can make your GIS data more available to your staff via a secure online system so that it can be easily viewed and edited by smartphones, tablets, and web browsers, making that data more useful and accessible. This is a low-cost approach without the need for an in-house GIS staff.

Our construction engineering & inspection (CEI) team is currently utilizing this modern technology on two Lee County projects, Estero Boulevard and Homestead Road. A GIS base map is created for the project based off the original plan digital linework, after which any combination of information can be incorporated into the map as the project progresses. Useful information may include digital photographs, shop drawings, equipment information, test results, etc. One particularly helpful aspect on these projects is in the generation and tracking of “punch lists.” Project deficiencies can easily be documented, located, mapped, and the status tracked with this GIS application. This is another example of utilizing technology to more quickly and efficiently improve our community.

For more information on mobile mapping solutions, contact Mike Lohr, PSM, at [email protected].

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