As the Village of Estero marks its seventh anniversary this month with a community-wide celebration in Estero Park (March 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.), it’s an opportune time to reflect on major milestones and accomplishments over the years.
- The Village of Estero was incorporated on Dec. 31, 2014, after 86 percent of Estero residents voted in favor of cityhood.
- The first Village Council members were elected in a special election on March 3, 2015, representing Estero’s seven districts.
- The first Village Council meeting was held on March 17, 2015, at Estero High School. Nick Batos, former chairman of the Estero Council of Community Leaders, was unanimously elected mayor.
- Temporary offices for the Village of Estero were at the Estero Fire Rescue headquarters on Three Oaks Parkway.
- First-year goals included establishing financial reserves, increasing services for residents and lowering taxes—all were met.
- In June 2015, Mary Gibbs was hired as community development director—one month after retiring from the same role in Lee County. She still holds the position.
- In November 2015, Steve Sarkozy was named the first Village Manager, bringing experience from several larger U.S. cities.
- In March 2016, the Village moved into its current office space at 9401 Corkscrew Palms Circle near Estero Park. The building also houses the Council Chambers.
- A Planning and Zoning Board and a Design Review Board were established, and the Village took ownership of several services from Lee County.
- Village Council adopted standards for the “Village Center” — running along U.S. 41 to the east, Corkscrew Road to the north, Williams Road to the east and Coconut Road to the south, anchored by the newly constructed Lee Health-Coconut Point facility.
- In December 2016, the Village of Estero took over roadway maintenance from Lee County for 28 local roads, saving Estero taxpayers about $2 million annually.
- Hertz opened its global headquarters in Estero.
- The Village completed an Area-Wide Traffic Study to identify traffic issues throughout the Village of Estero.
- Throughout 2017, the Village of Estero hosted monthly public input meetings to establish a Comprehensive Plan defining the community’s long range vision for the future.
- The year closed with the challenges of Hurricane Irma cleanup, but the foresight of maintaining strong reserves allowed Estero to come through in solid financial health.
- Village Council approved a modest tax rate decrease making Estero’s tax rate the lowest in Southwest Florida.
- More than 200 people attended the inaugural Village of Estero Veterans Day event in Estero Community Park.
- The Village purchased 62 acres of Estero River frontage in September 2018 to provide future recreational and preservation opportunities for Village residents.
- The tax rate was reduced for the third consecutive year.
- The Comprehensive Plan was completed, providing a balanced, forward-looking vision for the Village.
- Estero Parkway improvements began.
- The Village once again lowered its tax rate while increasing its financial reserves by 9.2 percent — creating a “safety net” of 12 months of operating expenses.
- The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was adopted in July 2019, and new bike/pedestrian pathways were built along Estero Parkway.
- The first Stormwater Master Plan was adopted in March 2020—the completion of a two-year long process to improve understanding of how stormwater functions within and surrounding Estero.
- The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan was completed in March 2020.
- Hundreds of Estero residents participated in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process, which prioritizes road and landscaping improvement projects, bike/pedestrian initiatives, parks and recreation projects, and more.
- The Village debuted its new official seal, designed to highlight Estero’s distinctive architecture, high landscaping standards and the natural beauty of the Estero River and local wildlife.
- The Village celebrated the completion of Estero Parkway road and landscaping improvements—the Village’s largest capital improvement project to date.
- Other roadway improvements include a new traffic signal on Corkscrew Road, the Corkscrew/I-75 interchange and the start of the Corkscrew Road widening project.
- The Village adopted its first Land Development Code (LDC), which regulates land use, growth and development in Estero.
- Estero residents continue to enjoy the lowest tax rate in Southwest Florida!