Archives for Summer 2021

OUTLOOK NEWSLETTER ( Summer 2021 )

City of Fort Myers Downtown Development Progress

 

A decade in the making, the City of Fort Myers downtown waterfront River District is bustling with activity and becoming the lively epicenter that was once envisioned.

Back in 2009 the City of Fort Myers City Council adopted the Fort Myers Downtown Riverfront Plan to revitalize the City’s downtown waterfront area with new businesses and public amenities to attract visitors and stimulate the economy, while also creating a water management system to help collect and treat stormwater prior to discharging into the Caloosahatchee River. Our team was involved early on in the planning process and became the civil engineer for many of the future improvements.

The first phase of the plan included designing the stormwater storage basin, which has now become an appealing focal point in the downtown riverfront area. Once a parking lot and exhibition hall, the water basin was designed to combine a unique mix of waterfront pathways, educational components, aesthetically appealing architecture, and landscaping, while inconspicuously collecting and treating stormwater to help reduce pollutants before discharging into the Caloosahatchee River via a hidden weir.

Today, the second phase of the plan is in full swing, as the Luminary Hotel has now opened its doors to guests. The 12-story, 243 guest hotel offers luxurious accommodations and breathtaking views of the downtown basin, the Caloosahatchee River, and historic downtown Fort Myers. The hotel is connected to the newly renovated Caloosa Sound Convention Center, making it more convenient for visitors to stay when attending conventions, weddings, and other events. This opens up many new opportunities for the City, as it makes the convention center a much more attractive destination for diverse and large events.

The design and construction of these projects has been thought-provoking due to the history of the area. This entire area was originally part of the Caloosahatchee River, submerged underwater up to Bay Street until it was filled in during the early 1900s. Our design team had to be ready to make any adjustments based on what was found during construction, since there were a lot of unknowns that laid below the surface. It made for some interesting challenges and unique solutions during construction of this urban redevelopment project.

Our team was also responsible for the design of Edwards Drive, from the basin to Monroe Street, which in the past was often closed and used for various events. Due to the Luminary Hotel parking garage entrance, the street no longer can be fully closed, so a creative design had to be used to allow single lane closures and pedestrian friendly design elements such as gentle roadway curbing and a bus trolley pull off.

Currently in the works, is the design of the waterfront amphitheater, to be located between the convention center and the river. The new open-air venue will be an attractive location for upcoming concerts and other events such as the monthly Music Walk and the annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. Luminary hotel guests and visitors of the Beacon Social Drinkery rooftop bar, will also have a front row view of these events. Future plans include additional waterfront restaurants, shops, and more hotels for this riverfront gathering space.

Shouldering the responsibility for the civil site design and water management for such diverse projects within this riverfront district takes strong collaboration and simultaneous coordination with the design team throughout the entire process. As we emerge from the pandemic and visitors begin trickling back to this area, those of us involved in designing and building these projects will proudly see revitalization success socially, culturally, and economically.

For more information, contact Kevin Winter, PE at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

 

Read more

FORT MYERS NEIGHBORHOOD GETS NEW COMMUNITY PARK

 

Johnson Engineering and the City of Fort Myers Public Works Department embarked on a project to upgrade a pump station and replace a large transmission force main on Coronado Road off Cleveland Avenue in the City of Fort Myers. This multifaceted project evolved to include the renovation of a small community park known as Coronado Park.

Our landscape architecture team took the lead and prepared multiple community vision concepts for the outdated and deteriorating neighborhood park. The improved park was designed to facilitate various community activities. A few of the upgrades included an updated age-specific playground structure, pavilions, new lighting, ornamental fencing, hardscape, benches, picnic tables, water fountain, improved bicycle parking, and security fencing for the renovated lift station. The space also includes a new dog park with pet friendly embellishments, such as a doggie fountain and rinse down area. The playground area was designed using pervious rubber surface to allow water to flow through into a subsurface stormwater drainage system designed by our team. A combination of concrete walkways and Flexipave® permeable rubberized walkways were used strategically throughout the park to reduce impacts to existing tree roots of the mature oaks and other shade trees.

The key to the success of the park renovation was an ongoing dialogue between our entire design team and the City’s Parks and Beautification team. It’s a park this community can enjoy for decades to come. For more information contact Jeff Nagle, RLA at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

Read more

DESPITE THE PANDEMIC, GATEWAY HIGH SCHOOL FINISHES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

 

The new home of the Gateway Eagles will be ready for students in East Lee County this fall. The ribbon cutting for the new three-story state-of-the-art building was held in late May. This 55.6-acre campus is located east of I-75 on the corner of State Road 82 and Griffin Drive in Gateway.

The school broke ground in late 2019 and became the first Lee County School District school to be constructed during the pandemic. Johnson Engineering was the civil engineer responsible for the overall site design of the complex, including a stormwater management plan, environmental assessments, utility infrastructure, roadway and parking areas, and permitting. Working closely with Lee County School District staff, BSSW, Suffolk Construction, and the rest of the design team, we helped keep the project moving forward during the 2020 pandemic and together were able to complete the project ahead of schedule.

The school will offer a variety of customized academic programs to prepare students for specific careers essential to Southwest Florida and beyond. It’s a privilege to be part of this exciting project, knowing the Lee County School
District is working hard to protect our children with high tech security for student safety, as well as refine and improve the educational amenities to better prepare our children with realistic hands-on job-related situations.

For more information contact Dana Hume, PE at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

Read more