FORT MYERS: Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to reopen county parks and preserves, including all beaches and beach access points, parking lots, and free-standing bathrooms on Wednesday.
County Commissioner Brian Hamman says he called for the mayor of Fort Myers Beach to follow the county’s lead. Mayor Ray Murphy said Fort Myers Beach will discuss it at their meeting on Friday.
Staff will be onsite to help encourage beachgoers to follow the CDC guidelines, including social distancing.
Parks and preserves will open with regular hours.
The following beaches and parks will be open:
- Bonita Beach Park
- Bowditch Point Park
- Bowman’s Beach Park
- Causeway Islands
- Crescent Beach Family Park
- Little Hickory Island Beach Park
- Lynn Hall Memorial Beach Park
- San Carlos/Bunche Beach Preserve
- Turner Beach Park
The following beach accesses will also be open:
- Alison Hagerup Beach Park
- Andy Rosse Lane Park
- Boca Grande Beach Accesses
- Bonita Beach Accesses
- Dog Beach Park
- Estero Island Beach Accesses
Dog parks, pickleball courts, tennis courts, and baseball fields will all be open.
NOTE: When the beaches open Wednesday, you can go to the sandy beach areas at Bowditch Point, Lynn Hall Park and Crescent Beach, as well as many other county-owned beach access points on Estero Island, some of which are within the Town of Fort Myers Beach and some within the City of Bonita Springs. Look for a county logo on the access signs or parks signs and then you will know you are good to go.
The following amenities at all Lee County locations will remain closed:
- Recreation centers
- Soccer, lacrosse and football fields
- Basketball courts
- Splash pads and pools
Baseball and softball fields will reopen with caveats, including no league play and no access to dugouts or bleachers. These fields will be for groups of 10 or less who want to practice baseball or softball – but they will need to contact the Parks & Recreation supervisor listed on each landing page at www.leeparks.org for the individual site that has the field. Or people can call the Parks main phone number at (239)533-7275 for assistance.
Additional plans are in place for the reopening, including:
Staff will make hash marks on the walkways at high-use tennis and pickleball courts and other areas to help guide the public of social distancing if there is a waiting line.
All dog parks will reopen with caveats. There will not be any seating areas provided. Patrons need to bring their own chairs; pre-established socially distanced spacing will be identified. Patrons must take chairs home when they leave.
All parking fees will go back into effect under this re-opening to help with congestion and turn over that occurs at high-use park sites with parking fees. Staff is assigned to clean parking pay machines.
Normal operating hours at all parks, preserves and beach access sites will be observed.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office will assist with monitoring and educating the public at county beaches.
This move, approved at an emergency Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, is part of the county’s phased-in approach for residents while still observing the governor’s executive order. Commissioners offered guidelines and stressed it is imperative that residents remain vigilant to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Source: WINK News Website, 4/28/2020