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The latest redevelopment (REDEV) news for you!

CRA Launches Home Preservation Program

Owners of houses most urgently in need of repair will have a chance to save their homes under a partnership between the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties.

The program will help preserve homes that have been cited for repeated code violations and potential safety hazards. Owners must live in the homes, meet income requirements and pass a background check. The first phase of the program will target houses in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Blvd. redevelopment areas.

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CRA Approves Microenterprise
Emergency Loan Program

Small, local enterprises will get help to recover from the COVID-19 slowdown and expand their businesses under the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) Microenterprise Program.

The CRA will offer small businesses forgivable loans to help cover emergency costs created by the economic disruption during the public health crisis. The agency recognizes the unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic created the need for temporary help for struggling enterprises that otherwise may not be able to survive.

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Business Spotlight: Market Earth & Blue Poppy Boutique

Market Earth, located at 2224 First Street, and Blue Poppy Boutique, located at 2214 First Street, are new businesses in the Downtown redevelopment area. Both stores are owned by Karen Allegretti. Market Earth has been in business since 2011 and Blue Poppy Boutique is opening soon. Market Earth’s philosophy is “shop for good”: they sell fair trade, recycled and upcycled artisan products. Blue Poppy Boutique will be a beachy haven selling gifts, Downtown Fort Myers souvenirs, and home goods.

Cleveland Avenue Community Staple Business
Approved for Improvement Grant

Padma Properties LLC, which operates a Chevron gas station and convenience store at 3005 Cleveland Avenue, has been approved for an $8,050 Commercial Property Improvement Grant.

Located at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Hanson Street in the Cleveland Avenue redevelopment area, sub-area 2, the property is a staple in providing general supplies and food for the area. The property itself was purchased in 2004 and is in need of minor repairs to enhance the curb appeal to customers.

Improvements will include:
• Landscaping Mulch, new groundcover.
• Driveway repair Replace curbs, remove/repair crumbling concrete, reseal/restripe parking lot.
• Exterior lighting upgrades Enhanced security & lighting with LED lights.
• Paint Building exterior painted with “Chevron” colors, paint fence and dumpster enclosure.

Business Spotlight: American Legion Post 38

Rabe O. Wilkinson American Legion Post 38, located at 1857 Jackson Street, is a legacy business in the Downtown redevelopment area that opened in 1919 and is 102 years old. It is the oldest Post in South Florida, having opened on September 5, 1919, just months after the national organization formed in the wake of World War I. Post 38 is named after Rabe O. Wilkinson, a brave Immokalee native drafted into the war in 1918 who volunteered for a high-risk mission and was killed in the battle of St. Mihiel in France. As America’s largest veterans service organizations, Post 38 welcomes all military personnel serving the United States through aid and assistance for local needy veterans and their families, educational scholarships, community projects, and they host the yearly Veteran’s Day Parade in Downtown Fort Myers. American Legion Post 38 also operates a restaurant that is open to the public daily for lunch or dinner, and Sundays for breakfast.

Farmers’ Market Returns Under Bridge this Summer!

Starting in May through September, the River District Farmers’ Market will be moving back to its cooler summer location under the Caloosahatchee Bridge in Centennial Park.

Announcing Fort Myers CRA
2020 Annual Report!

We are thrilled to deliver our 2020 Annual Report for your information. The CRA staff has worked diligently to produce a document that features the activities of 2020 in an attractive, professional report. Please feel free to disseminate it as you see fit. Our annual report is statutorily required to be available by March 31st each year.

Virtual Minority & Small Business Boot Camp
Now through August 25

The Virtual Minority & Small Business Boot Camp began on April 7, 2021 and continues through August 25. This no cost, multi-session webinar series is designed to educate minority and small businesses regarding information integral to growth and success.

No Cost Mental Health Counseling for
Adults and Children

Catholic Charities offers free mental health counseling for both adults and children.

For more information, call the number for your area:

• Charlotte / Lee / Hendry / Glades counties: 844-385-2423

• Collier County: 844-385-2404

• Sarasota / Manatee / DeSoto / Hardee / Highlands counties: 844-385-2407

Counselors are licensed with 5 years of experience. Catholic Charities is a licensed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant agency.

The Longest Day Event:
June 19, 7 pm – Midnight

On June 19, several local businesses (WearTheFund, Abby Services, Calusa Harbour and Cypress at Home) will gather in Downtown Fort Myers to celebrate the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day event. The event is in recognition of the Summer Solstice, and is meant to represent the time caregivers spend when they take care of those afflicted with the disease.

“WearTheFund has been supporting the Longest Day event since 2013, we are so thrilled to be in downtown!” said Sam Lewis from Wear the Fund.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center will be the main hub for the June 19th event. Mayor Anderson will start the festivities at sundown when he “throws the switch” and lights up First Street. Local downtown business will also be lit up in purple. Michele Hylton-Terry from Community Redevelopment Agency and Lisa Sbuttoni from the River District Alliance are helping to make this event a success.

“Many downtown restaurants and shops will be participating in the event and we want to encourage people to come out and support the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Committee member Shavon Chester of Cypress at Home. Many sponsors have signed on already, like the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. “Even though we are not a downtown business we support this worthy cause.” Said Melissa Vogt of the Broadway Palm. Some sponsorship packages are still available.

Adding particular significance to this event are personal videos that are being filmed of the residents at Calusa Harbour. These videos will be shared on the Memory Wall, which will be at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

“We want to encourage people the night of the event to share their #onememory with us. Alzheimer’s disease steals our thoughts, our memories, we want to bring awareness to the work being done to prevent Alzheimer’s and the research behind it. With these videos, we hope to do just that,” stated Greg Madsen, Independent Living Manager for Calusa Harbour.

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