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Beachfront park to have shade structures soon

August 21, 2012
By BOB PETCHER, , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

There will be relief from the heat of the sun at Crescent Beach Family Park in the near future.

Designing/builders partners Renzos and Marcella Avila of Renzos Designs Green Developers has begun a functional art project that involves the installation and assembly of three artistic shade structures on the grounds at the foot of Matanzas Bridge on Fort Myers Beach.

"We are trying to improve the culture of the area and create an identity for this community," said Renzo.

Article Photos

Renzos Avila poses near the structure created by a North American artist, which displays Indian culture in totem-pole style.

The Avilas, who are originally from Colombia, visited the County-owned park at the beginning of the summer to dig up areas and place concrete footers where the three structures were to be laid. During the course of the summer months, the artists created the structures at Renzos' shop in North Fort Myers. They are back on the Beach working late afternoons, evenings and into the night.

Once completed, the three structures will have three different elements and different colors to set themselves apart from each other. In fact, the colors of the three structures -green, yellow and red- are the colors of the season-changing leaves on a Sea Grape tree.

"This tree is protected," said Renzo. "The structures are made with recycled or reusable materials. We like to work with the local community."

Bamboo trees are also implemented into the project structures. Renzo has imported bamboo from his native country.

"This is the biggest bamboo in the world," he said. "The name is Guadua. It is the most sustainable tree in the world. It is five times stronger than wood because it is flexible."

Fifty-five feet aluminum piping with a nine-inch diameter is also being used for the structure. Palm fronds will be used in the roofing, much like a chickee hut.

Three artists from three distinct parts of the world -Central America, South America and North America -arranged the three structures. One pipe will reflect the Everglades, the second the sea and third the local ecology.

"We want to preserve the tradition," said Renzo, who applauded the support from Beach Mayor Larry Kiker, Town Manager Terry Stewart, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah and former Lee Parks Director Barbara Manzo. He also attributed Leroy's Welding in Fort Myers.

One of the developers' completed artistic structures can be seen at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.

'The idea for that project was in the identity. We made the bird in the slough because you see birds there," said Renzo.

The project has stretched out to seven months, but is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

The County-owned park at 1100 Estero Blvd. originally had the permanent shade structures in mind when the park was first constructed last year. The park, which features volleyball courts, a ping pong table, foliage and perimeter barriers, was purchased with funds provided by the Lee County Tourist Development Council by the collection of tourist tax dollars, but money for any type of shade structure was not budgeted for at the time.

"It was put off for a while, then we did a little bit of research to determine what was going to be best and what size could we afford," said Vicki Little, senior supervisor of Beach Parks & Shorelines for Lee County Parks and Recreation. "We were steered toward Reno's company that custom makes these shade structures."

County purchased the land for Crescent Beach Family Park roughly two years ago.

The parcels at 1080, 1113 and 1130 Estero Blvd. were being converted into a beachside park to complement Lynn Hall Park nearby. Howard Johnson, Days Inn and Sandman Motel businesses occupied the property before Hurricane Charley changed the landscape in 2004.



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