BERT MAKING PROGRESS: Feasibility Study wrapping up and Design Phase to begin!
The Lee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is making the rounds and gaining acceptance of the two-year feasibility study. These presentations culminate on March 17th at the MPO Policy Board meeting in Fort Myers. Please attend if you can, and wear your BERT shirt. We’d like to show the County Commissioners and other Policy Board members that there is significant public support for the Bonita Estero Rail Trail. The meeting objective is acceptance of the two-year feasibility study, allowing the MPO to move the project forward to the next phase, the Design Phase.
MPO Policy Board meeting March 17th 9:00am
Lee County Admin East Facility
2201 Second Street Room 118
Members of the BERT leadership team attended and spoke in support of Alternative One and acceptance of the Feasibility Study at the MPO executive board meeting on March 8th. Here the study was reviewed in advance of the March 17th full MPO Policy Board. We asked the Executive Board to not only accept the study, but to advocate for the Bonita Estero Rail Trail Project.
Members of your leadership team, along with Charles Hines of Trust for Public Lands recently met with each of the five Lee County Commissioners. We had an excellent exchange with each of the commissioners. All five are impressed with our membership, HOA endorsements and they understand the project very well. Of course, they are focused on hurricane recovery, but they do understand the importance of investing in projects like BERT and gave us their time, attention, ideas and support to move the project forward.
In other news, the Bonita Estero Rail Trail project continues to amass formal endorsements from influential organizations: Bonita Springs-Estero Realtors Association; Blue Zones; and Lee Health. All have sent their letters of formal endorsement to Friends of BERT leadership. We have begun working with the Collaboratory (formerly SW Florida Foundation) and they will help us explore opportunities to join forces with other organizations to champion greenways and trails in Lee County. It is truly an exciting time for this project.
Let’s keep Bonita Estero Rail Trail top of mind with our elected officials and influential associations and businesses! We are working on a strategy that communicates how BERT will connect to John Yarbrough Trail and then projects farther to the north, as we create a Greenway with Linear Parks strategy we call CONNECTLee!
From Left to Right: Charles Hines (Trust for Public Lands), Deb Orton (President – Friends of BERT), Ned Baier (Consultant – Lee County MPO)