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County: trams to be stored at Seafarer’s during season
December 19, 2018

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Lee County announced last week that it will not be storing its trams in the Park & Ride lot on Main Street, following pushback from some San Carlos Island residents.

The trams, which will commence service on Jan 3, will instead be stored at the Seafarer's property on Estero Island.

The county will replace the three trees it removed from the Park & Ride lot and leave its 61 parking spaces free and open to the public.

"I appreciate the Beach residents and business owners bringing this issue to our attention," said Lee County Commissioner Larry Kiker in a prepared statement.

"County staff has been very attentive and has worked diligently to address the concerns of the Beach community. From an operational standpoint, I think the new storage site will provide greater efficiency in our transportation services for our upcoming tourist season."

County staff plan to hang decorative canvases on the fence around the Seafarer's lot to help with aesthetics, and want to ask local elementary students to paint murals on them in the near future.

The county will run three open-air trams this season, along with their seasonal LeeTran trolleys.

"This is a real win/win for all of Fort Myers Beach," wrote resident Nick White in an email to the commissioner. "We are all hoping for a very successful 2019 tourist season. The extra tram and the extra parking places will both contribute to it!"

At the town's council meeting on Monday, several councilmembers had concerns about the decision.

Fort Myers Beach Town Councilmember Dennis Boback stated that he'd like to see the parking lot cleared out before any trams are parked in it, and Councilmember Joanne Shamp and Mayor Tracey Gore had concerns about safety and aesthetics.

"I think this is something we need to work hand-in-hand with the county on and show our willingness to do so," said Councilmember Anita Cereceda, who agreed that the lot needed to be cleaned up.

"These trams last year were very popular with residents and visitors alike. I think it's a fantastic addition to the town. It gives it a certain charm that is wonderful. I feel like the county is caught between a rock and a hard place right now with finding a location... I want to help them in some way," she said.

Council agreed to allow Shamp and the Town Manager Roger Hernstadt to work with the county on the issue.

Hernstadt noted that the trams will need to be stored until the end of April.

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