Fort Myers, FL
1 Parents Love It!
213 David Ave
Lehigh Acres , FL 33936
Main feature is a 0.5-mile long paved multi-use trail (12 feet wide) that encircles a 3-acre replicated prairie. Trail is designed for walkers, joggers, runners, people in wheelchairs, bicyclists, skateboarders and inline skaters (motorized vehicles are prohibited). Other facility elements include parking (16 stalls), restrooms (two “units”), picnic pavilions (3), boardwalk/observation area overlooking the prairie, outdoor fitness area (contains 4 pieces of equipment), site amenities (benches, picnic tables, trash bins, recycling bins, dog stations, drinking fountain and bike rack), interpretive signage and sculptural panels in the prairie. Leashed dog walking is permitted on the trail.
> Project is a great example of adaptive reuse as the park is built on part of an old golf course.
> Park retains much of the site’s original topography, integrating various berms, greens and sand traps of the old golf course into its design. Consequently, fewer nonrenewable resources were expended by on-site construction equipment to grade the site.
> Park contains a series of manmade rain gardens (planted depressions) that help to improve water quality by capturing and filtering runoff prior to discharge into Able Canal. When the site functioned as a golf course, a culvert performed this function.
> Over 90% of the site’s existing trees and palms were preserved. Most of these are slash pines, cedars and sabal palms.
> Majority of the invasive exotic trees, palms, shrubs and vines were removed from the property (e.g., Brazilian-Pepper, Ficus, Carrotwood, Senegal Date Palm and Air Potato).
> No fewer than 19,000 plants were installed at the park, including 297 trees and 381 palms. The prairie alone contains over 18,000 grasses and wildflowers and replaces a 3-acre area of Bermuda grass that required mowing, fertilizing and pesticide/herbicide application. Plantings are adapted to local conditions and will only need to be watered following prolonged periods of low rainfall.
> Roughly 35 new plant species have been introduced to the site, 33 of which are Florida natives. The underlying goal of increasing plant diversity is to provide additional habitat for wildlife in the area.
> With the exception of the prairie, which was mulched with pine straw for seed germination purposes, all landscape beds in the park were mulched with a byproduct of invasive Melaleuca Trees.
> Public bus stop is located across the street from the park’s entrance, providing people with the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ride-sharing. There are also paths for pedestrians and cyclists leading into the park.
> Parts of the outdoor fitness area and boardwalk/observation area are constructed from eco-friendly materials. The surface of the outdoor fitness area is made, in part, from old rubber tires, while the decking on the boardwalk/observation area contains recycled plastics from post-consumer waste such as milk and detergent containers.