News-Press.com

Sewage plant foes have their say
By Ryan Lengerich
rlengerich@news-press.com

Originally posted on December 18, 2007

http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071218/NEWS0111/71217102

North Fort Myers residents Monday had their first chance to comment on and question a 62-page report outlining options for the wastewater plant near Waterway Estates.

The county is considering the future of an existing water treatment plant and a nearby 5.8-acre, $13.8 million riverfront property where the county is considering a treatment center expansion.

About 125 people crowded the Commission Chambers in downtown Fort Myers.
Caloosa Isle Yacht Club, which sold the property to the county, did so when it abandoned plans to upgrade the North Fort Myers neighborhood with an $18 million marina, which would have included a restaurant, tiki bar, boat maintenance facility and playground.

Sarasota-based consultant Hazen and Sawyer produced eight possible options, and ranked the top three. The first option would be to build a new plant on the marina site. The second option would be for the county to purchase North Fort Myers Utilities and divert the water to that plant. The third option would be to enter into an agreement to send the water to the North Fort Myers Utilities plant.

County commissioners have not yet discussed the draft report. Commissioner Tammy Hall, who represents North Fort Myers, said the board will work over the issue at a workshop in January. A vote is not expected until February.

Surrounding residents, especially those in Waterway Estates came out against building a new plant in their neighborhood.

"The big question is, personally, are you going to support us in not building a water treatment plant?” resident Jim Morrissette asked Hall.

She said it is not ideal to build a new plant on that property, but she is hoping the draft plan helps her and commissioners weigh the best options available.

“If this plant was being built brand new today, it would not go on a site like this,” Hall said. “We recognize that an expansion, even on this existing site has an impact.”