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MPO searching for a new home

By Staff | Oct 10, 2011

The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization is searching for a new home for its offices and meeting space.

Cape Coral could be one destination for the relocation, as the city submitted a proposal that included leasing a portion of the old city hall to the group.

Although city officials could not be reached for confirmation Monday, MPO Director Don Scott said officials would be touring the facility this week.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen yet, we’re still going through the process of getting rates in the market,” Scott added.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization is tasked with long-term transportation and development planning across Lee County.

Made up of legislators from Lee County and surrounding municipalities, the MPO also works in conjunction with the Regional Planning Council, a body encompassing representatives from around the region, as far north as Sarasota County and south to Collier.

Although separate entities, the MPO and the Regional Planning Council share office space and some staffers, according to Scott.

Some minimum requirements for the new office space includes at least 900 square feet, storage space, conference room and meeting space large enough for board meetings.

The MPO staff reached out to all the municipalities in Lee County, hoping to find a proposal that fits its needs, but Scott said the group could end up staying put at its downtown Fort Myers location, too.

The MPO board could vote on the proposals as early as Oct. 21, during a joint meeting with Collier’s MPO, Scott said.

Some MPOs across the state don’t pay for their office and meeting space, while others pay a market rate, Scott said. But the bottom line is finding the right space for the right price, regardless of where its located in the county.

“Geographically, the center of the county makes more sense, but is there something that works in that particular space?” Scott said.

Scott added that he would likely advise the board that a two-year lease would be the prudent move, as forthcoming legislation could signal the combination of Lee’s MPO with other counties for a larger, region focused group.

“We’ll know more about that in the next year,” Scott said.

For more information, contact the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organiza-tion at 338-2550.