Anyone who has strolled through downtown Fort Myers in the evening will tell you it’s a beautiful sight. That scene has recently won a prestigious prize, the 2012 International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Walkable Neighborhoods award at the IMCL conference in Portland, Oregon.
The prize was awarded to Fort Myers as a result of the sheer scale and quality of work carried out in the area to make it much prettier and nicer to be around. While it was never that bad to begin with, certainly not compared to other cities in the world, the improvement works have elevated it above all others, at least according to the IMCL.
The exact award reads, “In recognition of the extensive landscaping, refurbishment and traffic calming that greatly improved the quality of life for everyone, creating a downtown with a genuinely urban character.”
The International Making Cities Livable, (IMCL) was founded in 1982 to promote ethical and sustainable urban planning. The premise is to promote the idea that we can make our urban areas efficient while still making them good places to live and work. The board is made up of prestigious academics and industry experts from around the world.
Those experts include urban planners, architects, academics, public health officials, city Mayors and community leaders who want to promote healthy city planning and sustainable growth.
The Fort Myers downtown project was completed in 2010 and included a 54-block renovation undertaking including modernizing utilities, beautification of the streets, sidewalks, improved lighting, addition of planters and the general tidying up of the area.
It isn’t all about prizes for the downtown project. While the IMCL award is only one of six prizes the project won, it is more about improving Fort Myers and encouraging businesses to move here.
Already viewed as a tropical paradise by those who live and visit here, the project has now spread the word far and wide about how good we have it. Since completion of the project in 2010, there have been over 30 new businesses opened up in the downtown area, directly as a result of this improvement project.
Add to that the prize from the Arbor Day Foundation, who awarded Fort Myers a Tree City USA name for its commitment to urban forestry, and you have all the more reason to invest in our city. This isn’t the first time we have won this award, it’s the 20th in a row.
“We all benefit when communities like Fort Myers place a high priority on planting and caring for trees, one of our nation’s most beautiful resources,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation.
With more investment on the horizon, there has never been a better time to move to Fort Myers!