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Lee commissioners OK housing grants, Corkscrew widening, LeeTran station in Lehigh


The Lee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved several items including State Housing Initiatives Partnership grant agreements for affordable housing as well as the next phase of widening of Corkscrew Road and a LeeTran transfer station in Lehigh Acres.

Nearly $5.4 million in State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) grant agreements to local partners for affordable housing.
The grants will provide assistance to 48 very low and 49 low-income households including 53 households that include individuals with special needs.

The SHIP program is solely funded by the State and is locally governed by the strategies in the Local Housing Assistance Plan adopted by the Board on March 21, 2023. The program places a priority on serving very low, low, and special needs households and requires 65% of the funds be spent on homeownership activities.

The grants were awarded to:

Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Inc.

  • $2,222,188 – Down Payment Assistance for 32 households which include nine very low and 23 low-income households. At least eight of the households include individuals with special needs.

Lee County Housing Development Corp.

  • $255,000 – Construction of three single family houses for one very low and two low-income households. All three households include people with special needs.
  • $385,000 - Down Payment Assistance for 10 households which include five very low and five low-income households. At least four of the households include people with special needs.
  • $750,000 – Owner Occupied Rehab for 10 households which include five very low and 5 low-income households with all 10 households including individuals with special needs.
  • $1,115,540 – Rental New Construction for 12 very low and 12 low-income households with at least 12 of the households including individuals with special needs.

Affordable Homeownership Foundation

  • $300,000 – Rental New Construction for two very low and two low-income households with at least two of the households including individuals with special needs.

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida

  • $380,628 – Rental rehabilitation of 14 units at Jean Devereaux Apartment for 14 very low-income households with all 14 households including individuals with special needs.

Lee County has received funds since 1999 from the SHIP program for the provision of affordable housing. The SHIP program is funded by revenues collected by the state from a surcharge on documentary stamps and distributed to counties and local governments as grants. Distributions are made on a population-based formula through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, a state agency created to assist in providing a range of affordable housing opportunities.
Contract for construction of Corkscrew Road Widening Phase II from Bella Terra Boulevard to Alico Road.

Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2024. The project includes:

  • Widening of an existing two-lane road to four lanes
  •  Drainage improvements
  •  A 6-foot sidewalk on the north side and 10-foot asphalt shared-use path on the south side
  •  On-road bike lanes
  •  A new signal at Alico Road
  •  Force main and water main relocations/replacements. 

The $26.6 million contract is with Bergeron Land Development.
The widening project is a top-tier transportation priority for the Board. Construction of Phase 1 began in summer 2021 and builds six lanes from Ben Hill Griffin Parkway to Fire House Lane and then transitions to a four-lane roadway that will extend east to Bella Terra Boulevard. That phase is planned for completion in early 2024.

Two contracts related to the construction of the LeeTran Park and Ride Transfer Station at 1121 Village Lakes Blvd. in Lehigh Acres, adjacent to the Lehigh Acres Community Park.

The Lehigh Acres population has grown significantly, creating a demand for additional transit services. The new Park and Ride facility will give residents the opportunity to commute to and from Lehigh neighborhoods and help reduce traffic on the roadways.

The new transfer station will include four bus bays, covered areas with benches, restrooms and ADA-compliant parking spaces. The facility will also have paved bus circulation with loading and unloading areas, custodial facilities and technology support space. Village Lakes Boulevard from Williams Avenue to the western property line will include sidewalks, drainage and other improvements to provide access to the new facility.

The Board voted to award:

  • A $4.5 million contract to Vantage Construction Services, LLC. to construct the Park and Ride Transfer Station.
  • A $268,500 contract to CIMA Engineering Corp. for construction engineering, and inspection services.

The project will be funded through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Grant Fund. The project is expected to be completed in early 2025.
Pursue acquisition of five parcels totaling 30 acres for the Conservation 20/20 program.

Four of the parcels are 5-acre in-fill parcels within Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) area in southeast Lee County.

The fifth parcel is 10 acres on Pine Island, southwest of Little Pine Island Mitigation Area, and adjacent to Pine Island Flatwoods Bayside – a Conservation 20/20 Preserve – and a Calusa Land Trust-owned preserve on the eastern side of Pine Island east of Stringfellow Road.

All of the parcels were unanimously recommended by the Conservation 20/20 Land Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee (CLASAC). Any negotiated terms for purchase will be returned to the Board for consideration.

The Lee County Conservation 20/20 program acquires land from willing sellers for resource-based recreational opportunities such as hiking, birdwatching, nature study, photography and paddle craft launches.

The program for environmentally sensitive land acquisition and management has preserved more than 31,400 acres since its inception.

In addition to recreation, conservation lands help the county to protect drinking water, enhance water quality, protect areas from flooding and provide wildlife habitat.

For more information, visit www.Conservation2020.org.

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