Fort Myers river basin captures statewide award
The city of Fort Myers has been recognized as a winner in the Florida League of Cities’ Florida Municipal Achievement awards. The city is co-winner of the league’s Environmental Stewardship Award for the downtown river basin. This is the first time that the city has won a “Muni” award from the Florida League of Cities.
The Environmental Stewardship award focuses on city programs that promote conservation, improve and protect environmental condition, and/or provide environmental education and outreach programs within a city. The city earned the award for improvements to environmental water quality, and shares the 2017 honor with the Town of Lauderdale by-the-Sea.
The River Basin is a 1.5-acre water detention/retention area that treats urban stormwater runoff from 15 acres of the city’s downtown. It reduces the total nitrogen load entering the Caloosahatchee River. The basin has sparked economic development including the construction of the upcoming basin-side Luminary Hotel & Co. Additionally, the basin has become a focal point for downtown events, helps to reduce the urban heat island and offers opportunities for community education and passive recreation.
“Most people see the river basin and think it’s just a nice water feature in our downtown area,” explains City Manager Saeed Kazemi. “It actually serves an important environmental purpose. It collects and filters the stormwater from our downtown streets, parking lots and buildings, and the result is healthier water entering the river.”
The basin will also be featured in an upcoming issue of the league’s magazine, Quality Cities.
The league also recognized the Mayor Randy Henderson and Council members Forrest Banks and Teresa Watkins with Home Rule Hero awards. They earned the designation for their efforts to advance the league’s legislative agenda and help protect the home rule powers of Florida’s cities. Home rule is the ability for a city to establish its own form of government and enact its own ordinances, codes, plans and resolutions.