Have you recently participated in a survey, focus group or public forum asking for your input on Estero’s recreational needs? The Village of Estero is working to create its first Parks, Recreation & Open Space Master Plan. The ultimate goal is to improve both the quantity and the quality of Estero’s parks and recreational facilities.
Project Objectives are to a build a Parks & Recreation System that will:
- Meet the needs of both seasonal and full-time residents
- Help build a brand identity for the Village of Estero
- Operate and be maintained in a cost-effective, fiscally-responsible manner
Although the Village of Estero has no public parks of its own, there are several parks within the city limits, including two state parks (Koreshan State Park and Estero Bay Preserve State Park), a county park (Estero Community Park), and numerous private parks and recreational facilities within Estero’s gated communities (including golf courses).
Village’s consultant, Barth Associates, has analyzed the existing conditions of Estero’s park lands and recently presented findings of a needs assessment to the Village Council. To determine Estero’s unmet needs, Barth Associates conducted a survey of 451 residents throughout the Village of Estero. An online survey included another 272 participants. The consultant also conducted a public workshop, as well as focus groups and individual interviews.
From this community input, priorities have been determined. A common theme was the need for improved park access and connectivity. Top Priorities, as indicated by the needs assessment, are as follows:
- Natural areas/nature parks
- Multi-purpose trails
- Performance arts center
- Restrooms for existing parks
- Community Gardens
- Athletic Fields
- Boating Access
- Community special events
- Fitness/wellness programs
- Nature programs/environmental education
- Senior leisure programs
Already in the works for 2019 are new pedestrian pathways and bike lanes along Estero Parkway. Other major impending decisions include:
- Acquisition of the Seminole Gulf/CSX railroad right-of-way for a bike path
- Acquisition of the Estero River property north of Corkscrew Road for preservation of river frontage
- Collaboration with Florida State Parks System to improve Koreshan State Park for preservation of history
- Collaboration with Lee County Public School District on projects to improve community education & recreation
The next step in the process will be a Visioning Workshop. Topics for discussion include potential public and private partnerships, new facilities, land acquisitions, and staffing/operations/programs management. The master plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The Village continues to seek and value input from residents. Stay tuned to the Village of Estero website and subscribe to receive updates on meetings and other opportunities for input: https://estero-fl.gov.