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Rosa Parks Transportation Center to be renovated

Lee Tran Democracy Watch.jpg
Jaylin Delestre
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The Rosa Parks Transportation Center prior to upcoming renovations by Chris-Tel Corporation. The $3.5 million contract was approved on October 19 with upgrades including four new bus lanes.

Lee County Commissioners approved a contract for $3.5 million with Chris-Tel Corporation to provide construction services to renovate Lee Tran's Rosa Parks bus terminal.

This story was produced by Democracy Watch, a news service of Florida Gulf Coast University journalism students. The reporter can be reached at jdelestre8108@eagle.fgcu.edu.

Lee County Commissioners approved a contract for $3.5 million with Chris-Tel Corporation to renovate Lee Tran’s Rosa Parks Transportation Center. Money for the project comes from a Florida Department of Transportation Intermodal Access Development Program grant.

Since it opened in 2000, Lee Tran Rosa Parks has not had any extensive renovations such as the one approved on October 19, according to Lee County spokesperson Tim Engstrom.

“The Rosa Parks Transportation Center is a major hub for an average of 1,100 riders daily,” Engstrom said. “So it is important to keep up-to-date.” The renovations include updates to the electrical and air system, an expansion of the customer service area, re-striping of the parking lot, and improving signage on the property for a better user experience.

According to Engstrom, four bus bays will be added with half being on Widman Way and half on the Hendry Street side of the facility. Throughout these upgrades, Lee Tran Rosa Parks will remain as a hub. “Bus services will continue without interruption,” Engstrom said.

Yessenia Guzman, an FSW student, uses bus services weekly on her way to her only on-campus class. Guzman is no stranger to the transportation system as she has to ride three buses to get to school. These rides total an hour and thirty minutes most days. “I think it will be better,” Guzman said of the renovations. “I see the lanes being crowded.”

Pennsylvania native Elliott Walker Sr., however, believes the focus should be on providing a space for the homeless residents that might be displaced as construction begins. Walker is with the Center For Progress and Excellence Inc., a center dedicated to helping those with mental issues or without homes. Walker worries the construction will hurt those people,

“That’s where they sleep. That’s their home,” Walker said.

Were it up to him, he said, he would build a section where the homeless could reside comfortably. There hasn’t been any official talk about the homeless population in relation to the renovation. Still, Walker would hope that decisions are being made with them in mind. “A lot of people choose to ignore it even though they’re aware of it,” Walker said.

County Commissioners voted to add $2,000 more in funding towards the rapid rehousing program on Sept. 21. This program helps house the homeless population, especially those who were inconvenienced by the Centennial Park renovation in downtown Fort Myers.

Along with the confirmation of the hub renovation, Lee County Commissioners declared Oct. 29 through Nov. 5 to be Mobility Week. This week is dedicated to the LeeTran system for providing public transportation to the county for over two decades. “These updates will result in a much better user experience for our passengers and patrons,” Engstrom said.

Photo and Caption: The Rosa Parks Transportation Center looks previous to upcoming renovations by Chris-Tel Corporation. The $3.5 million contract was approved on October 19 with upgrades including four new bus lanes.