To the editor:
Since 1988, the Lee County Tourist Development Council has allocated more than $86 million to enhance our beaches and shorelines. It's clear the council understands the importance of our natural resources to visitors to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. This year alone, the TDC allocated $7.6 million in bed tax dollars to be used for improvements and maintenance. The uniqueness of these projects lies in the partnerships they involve and benefits they provide to visitors and residents alike.
The 26 projects funded in the current fiscal year with $7.6 million include beach and access improvements at Bonita Spring River Park, Gasparilla Island State Park and Fort Myers Beach; shoreline improvements to Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Alva; shade structures and restroom improvements on Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach; and beach maintenance projects in Bonita Beach, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel.
The TDC allocations do not fund 100 percent of any project. Rather, each project is a partnership with local government agencies partnerships that strengthen the local community. In addition, the enhancements made possible by the projects benefit residents as well as visitors.
Historically, the beach and shoreline allocations have focused on beach renourishment, maintenance, capital improvements and emergency reserves, and all projects are designed to enhance the enjoyment of our natural resources.
The projects only accentuate our destination's already stunning natural assets, which is why we often find our beaches rated among the best. For example, in the past year Sanibel made USA Today's list of top 10 best beach towns in Florida, and Coastal Living included North-end Beach on Captiva among its Top 21 Best Beaches.
We will continue to highlight our unique and spectacular natural assets to entice visitors to our area. As we do, I hope you, our many industry partners and the residents of Lee County, all take the time and opportunity to enjoy our enhanced beaches and shorelines too.