Imagine heightening water quality standards, an impaired water body designation, and total maximum daily loads, all converging on a dense urban downtown setting in the midst of a Great Recession…what is a City to do? The City of Fort Myers had the answer. In 2009 they competitively selected Acquest Realty Advisors and its consultant team to launch a Riverfront Development planning effort, the main feature being a stormwater improvement project that benefits the environment, stimulates economic growth, spurs redevelopment, honors community history, and enhances quality of the public realm.

Since adopting the Riverfront Development Plan and incorporating it in the Downtown Master Plan, the City has methodically pursued the design, permitting, and funding for the 1.4-acre Downtown Detention Basin project central to the Plan. Johnson Engineering assisted in key aspects of the project to bring about the construction that can be seen downtown today. In addition to engineering design and permitting, we helped the City obtain what it needed most: money.

Teamed with Acquest, we helped the City identify, apply for, and obtain funding for planning, design, and construction. We first landed State Revolving Fund Loans for planning and construction, followed by awards in the amount of $898,000 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Grant program. Thanks to the grants and the budget available after completion of the Downtown Streetscape Project, the City could forgo tapping into the loans. With construction underway, we continue working to help the City as we identify dollars for educational signage, pathways, and other elements of the project.

For more information, contact Laura DeJohn at [email protected].