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County official discusses new fishing pier for Matlacha

By Staff | Nov 26, 2019

Lee County Parks and Rec-reation Director Jesse Lavender discussed the design and construction of a new fishing pier for the Community Park in Matlacha last Wednesday night at the monthly Matlacha Civic Association meeting

More than 50 people attended the discussion, held at the Matlacha Art Building.

“Back in July we had a structural engineer come out and he determined that the existing pier is unsafe,” Lavender said. “”We were especially concerned about the pilings holding up the pier that had had deteriorated beyond repair.”

The existing pier, which has been closed since July, was built in 1969.

Once the existing pier was deemed unsafe, the Department of Parks and Recreation began working on replacing the pier.

“When we determined how much funding was needed, we approached the Tourist Development Council and they agreed we would need $750k in funding which was approved by the Board of County Commis-sioners,” Lavender said. “That money became available on Oct. 1.”

The project requires two permits — one from the Department of Environmental Protection and the other from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“If any of you have ever been through the Army Corps process, you know it takes time,” Lavender said. “Plus, anything being built in a smalltooth sawfish habitat takes even longer so we can’t really give an accurate timeline when the project will be started but we will post it online and get the information to the Matlacha Civic Association.”

The replacement pier will look identical to the existing pier with a few upgrades in the infrastructure.

The staging for construction will be the lawn area of Matlacha Park. As a result, the lawn area will be inaccessible for parking for the annual Matlacha Art Show and the Chamber of Commerce Mullet Toss. The Matlacha Art Show has been relocated to North Fort Myers.

The park will be open for all other activities: boat launching, dog walking, playground activities and the art building.

In other business, Cindy Lyn Banyai, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 19, did not arrive in time for the meeting. Her Republican opponent, Dane Eagle, is expected at a later meeting of the Matlacha Civic Association.

The Greater Pine Island Civic Association’s pursuit of incorporation was briefly discussed. MCA President Karl Deigert said the majority of the Matlacha Civic Association board members opposed any incorporation that included Matlacha.

Matlacha residents at the meeting requested that MCA put together a petition for registered voters in Matlacha. According to Deigert there are approximately 7,200 registered voters in the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District and approximately 640 in Matlacha.

This meeting was a “Pot Luck”, which was a great hit in past years under the leadership of former President Birdi Smock. MCA extends an invitation to everyone to attend its meetings, no matter where he or she may live in the area.

MCA meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the Matlacha Art Building in Matlacha Park.