Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is the Downtown Utility & Streetscape Improvements Project?
The Fort Myers Downtown Utility and Streetscape Improvement Project is a complete replacement of all water, sewer and storm drainage systems. Streetscape improvements will include new sidewalks, crosswalks and parking spaces, and enhanced landscaping with new trees. Decorative features such as lighting, benches, trash receptacles and brick streets will be added throughout downtown to reflect the historical origin of Fort Myers. We are excited about this time of redevelopment in our great city. Living and working in downtown Fort Myers will mean watching our historic district transform into a more vibrant community. With this project, the city will prepare for future growth in the downtown area, while embracing its rich history through the addition of features that mirror the Fort Myers of the past.

How did we get here?
The Downtown Utility and Streetscape Improvements Project is another step toward implementing the Downtown Redevelopment Plan adopted by the City Council on April 7, 2003. Dyer, Riddle, Mills & Precourt, Inc. (DRMP) and its project team were selected by the City of Fort Myers to provide design services for the downtown area from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard north to the Caloosahatchee River and from Cleveland Avenue (U.S. 41) east to Fowler Street. In 2004, Kraft Construction Company, Inc. was selected to manage construction of the project.

What is the constructuion schedule?
The contractor has developed a tentative schedule to inform the project team and the public. This schedule may vary depending on things like the weather, and delivery of materials and equipment. Unforeseen issues such as archaeological or historical findings may require extra time to ensure their protection during construction.  Underground utilities not shown on construction plans require extra time to determine their source. Click here to be directed to the Project Schedule page which shows the project phasing, estimated start dates and actual completion dates.

Access

How will construction affect my business?
The City’s contractor will work very hard to minimize inconveniences to businesses due to construction. Businesses and residents will receive construction information through public meetings, one-on-one meetings, small group and organizational meetings, news media, the Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency, email updates and this website.  We will work with downtown merchants to have alternate plans in place prior to construction and to make sure that merchants and patrons are given notice of when and where construction will take place.  The contractor will provide business access signs for buildings/business in the construction zone.

Will I always have access to my business/residence?

Vehicular Access
As the construction progresses, some streets in downtown will be temporarily inaccessible to vehicles. However, the construction crew will work closely with business owners to address concerns about access.  Business access signs will direct motorists to temporary businesses entrances.

Pedestrian Access
Pedestrian access will be maintained during construction.  Temporary sidewalks will be placed between buildings and fences bordering the construction area.  Access may be delayed during the installation of temporary sidewalks while crews remove the old sidewalks and lay the temporary sidewalks.  You may be detoured, delayed or asked to use an alternate entrance when the permanent sidewalks are being poured.  This is to allow the concrete to cure or harden and usually takes from 4-6 hours.

Parking
If you currently have parking in a designated area that will be in a construction zone, we will work with you to find another parking option. These options include surface parking by permit or parking in one of the available parking garages.

What about City events?
To keep construction progressing, some city events may require relocation to other areas of the city.  The project team is working closely with downtown event organizers during the construction.  If you are planning an event in the downtown area, please contact Kaye Molnar at 239-337-1071 or e-mail to kmolnar@cella.cc to coordinate your event with the downtown construction.

Water Shut-Offs/Boil Water Notices

Will our utilities be shut off during the construction?
Utility interruptions will be unavoidable. You will experience several planned water shut-offs usually lasting less than four hours at any one time. To minimize inconveniences, most planned water shut-offs are scheduled after hours.

How will I know if my water will be shut-off?
You will receive advance notification of any planned water shut-offs via a flyer that will be placed on your door. Check the Water Shut-offs page on this site for current water shut-off information.

You will receive advance notification of any planned utility shut-offs.  However, please keep in mind, downtown Fort Myers dates back before the 1900s.  Old water and sewer lines could be damaged or disintegrate unexpectedly due to the heavy construction equipment required to replace the systems. Some of the old valves to the water system do not function properly and can be problematic in the case of a water main break.  A very large portion of the water system may have to be shut down to make a repair. In this case, we have an emergency plan in place to notify you and work to restore service as soon as possible.

What does a water shut-off/boil water notice mean?
The Department of Health and the Department of Business and Professional Regulations both require a Boil Water notice to be issued after any water shut-off, planned or emergency.  You will be required to boil your tap water or use bottled water for a period of time after the water shut off.   Click here to find boil water regulations for residential or commerical properties.

How long will I need to boil my water?
You will need to boil your water or use bottled water  from the time service is restored until you receive a Rescission of Boil Water notice.  This period usually lasts approximately 72 hours.  Click here to find boil water regulations for residential or commerical properties.

I have not received a boil water notice and I do not have water. What do I do?
Call Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc. at (239) 337-1071 to report your outage. Most likely you are experiencing an emergency water shut-off due to a water line break. You may be instructed to boil your water when service is restored.   If you are a restaurant, hair salon or medical office, it is suggested that you keep several five gallon bottles of water on the premises in case of a water line break or an emergency water shut off.

Utilities

Utilities Replacement What is the construction process?
The contractor will begin construction in an area by installing a chain link fence around the construction zone to provide a barrier for pedestrian safety.   Initially, construction workers will demolish existing roadway and sidewalks.  Temporary pedestrian access will be provided as needed.  New sewer and water mains, and drainage structures will be installed.  Installation of electrical and communication conduits will follow.  Once these services are installed, water and sewer lines will be inspected and tested and finally connected to private properties.  Once the new services are operational, existing water and sewer lines will be demolished and removed, and the roadbed will be prepared for asphalt or brick depending on the location.  Sidewalk curbing will be installed and the new sidewalk poured followed by the decorative brick pavers.  Asphalt (or brick) will complete the roadway.

Why is the City replacing underground utilities (sewer and water)?
The existing water and sewer infrastructure is a mixture of different materials from different time periods.  City utilities staff has found water main fittings stamped with dates from the early 1900s.  There are various reasons for replacing the old water mains.  The old potable water mains are primarily cast iron and these mains are reaching the end of their life expectancy.  With the City of Fort Myers’ adoption of the Duany Plan, the future water demand will increase and the new water system has been designed to handle the increased demand while maintaining an acceptable pressure.

The sewer system also is a combination of old and new pipes and manholes.  Most of the old sewers are clay pipe.  Over time the clay pipe joints deteriorate which allows infiltration of ground water into the sewer system.  Like the design of the water system, the new sewer system has been designed to handle the increased flow from the new developments the Duany Plan has allowed.

Is it true the City of Fort Myers will have underground utilities as a part of this project?
Conduit will be installed underground for future services such as electric, cable, fiber optics, etc. However, the City of Fort Myers does not currently have the funding to convert these utilities to underground facilities.  It is preferred to move all electrical, cable and fiber optics services underground at one time.

Amenities

Is there a drawing of how the Downtown Streetscape Project will look when completed?
There are renderings of the downtown area that can give an impression of how the completed project will look, and these can be seen on our website. 

What streets will be brick paved?
Some streets in downtown Fort Myers will be brick streets.  During the demolition of several streets, old bricks are being salvaged, cleaned and reused.  Other streets are receiving new bricks.

The following downtown streets will be receiving the new bricks.

  • Jackson Street from Second Street to Bay Street
  • Broadway from Second Street to First Street
  • Dean Street from First Street to Bay Street
  • Main Street from Jackson Street to Monroe Street
  • Bay Street from Jackson Street to Monroe Street

The following downtown streets will be receiving the old bricks.

  • First Street from Jackson Street to Monroe Street
  • Hendry Street from Second Street to Bay Street

What kind of trees will be planted?
Palms will be the predominant plantings throughout the downtown area in order to reinforce the image of Fort Myers as the “City of Palms”.  Flowering shade trees will be placed in open spaces and around downtown.

Will the sidewalks remain the same width?
The project has been designed to maximize sidewalks in the downtown core district.  Pedestrian friendly streets will emphasize the pedestrian experience over the automobile.  Sidewalks will consist of concrete with brick paver accents.

What new elements will be added to the downtown area?
New elements being added to downtown will include new sidewalks with brick inserts, brick streets, pedestrian crossings made from pavers, “bulb outs” containing new palm trees, and street furniture.

What will the streetlights look like?
The streetlight chosen for this redevelopment will be reminiscent of streetlights that existed in Fort Myers 100 years ago.  A sample of these lights may be viewed on Hendry Street between Second Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Will there be sidewalk benches?
Yes. New benches will be conveniently located throughout the downtown area.

Parking

Does the Downtown Streetscape Project include more downtown parking?
The City is currently exploring options to add parking garages to the downtown area.  There will also be the addition of parallel parking on First Street.

Contact Information

Who can I contact to get information about the Downtown Utility & Streetscape Improvements Project?
For more information about the project, please contact the City of Fort Myers’ public information consultant, Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc.  You may use the Contact Us page or contact Kaye Molnar at Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc. at 239-337-1071 or toll-free at 1-877-496-1076. You may also write to kmolnar@cella.cc or to 1631 Hendry Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901.