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Town council approves Bay Oaks strategic plan

December 4, 2019
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Fort Myers Beach Town Council approved the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Strategic Plan at its last meeting Nov. 18.

The strategic plan sets out a broad outline of goals to expand programming at the facility at 2731 Oak Street.

The five main strategies include working with the public and local organizations to identify programming needs, working in conjunction with the library and school to share programs and property, improving signage, finding new funding opportunities and hiring a public relations/event planner.

Councilmember Bruce Butcher said he had some concerns about the land ownership questions being settled at the site.

"What are we going to do about it once we understand what the land ownership question answers are? And then about going to the county and seeing what their participation might be. To me, that should have been laid out somewhere here," he said.

Alison Giesen, director of Culture, Parks and Recreation, said those questions have been answered through previous correspondence to the board. Councilmember Joanne Shamp believes the strategic plan sets out the goals.

"This is the general strategy and then it's going to be more clearly defined," she said.

Butcher said the plan doesn't state "how we act" if there are issues between the county or school if the town needs to utilize the property at the Bay Oaks site that those entities own.

"These types of situations are chicken and the egg situations," Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt said. "You can't really walk into them and say 'Will you give me your land?' without kind of saying this is how I propose to use your land. So I think you have to develop a little bit of, at least a sketch or something to say look, this is what we would like to do and we need some more land from you to do it and this would be the benefit," he said. "If you just walk in and say 'Hey can we have some more land from you?' you are probably going to say no not until we know what you are going to use it for and how you are going to use it and how it is going to impact us."

Hernstadt said if the town decides it needs more land at the Bay Oaks site to implement future plans, the town will go to the county and school to present proposals.

New fitness court at Bay Oaks,

microphones and sound system for council

At the Nov. 18 meeting, the council approved a $94,800 expenditure with National Fitness Campaign LLC on an outdoor fitness court at the Bay Oaks Recreation Center. Of that amount, $30,000 is being covered by a grant the town was awarded by the National Fitness Campaign. The town was selected for the grant as part of 200 awardees in the 2020 Healthy Cities Campaign.

Giesen said part of the expenditure would be funded through park fees. A site at the campus still has to be agreed upon. The exercise pad, concrete and equipment will take up about half of a tennis court.

The council also approved a new sound system for the council chambers with wireless microphones which will cost $31,538.88 from Encore Broadcast Solutions. Hernstadt said there were issues with the old system which predates his tenure with the town.

"The mics we have in the council chambers are hard-wired," he said. "They are directed microphones." That means board members have to talk close into the microphones. When there are workshops there are not enough microphones, he said. Wireless microphones should make it easier to use the sound system, he said. The current ones don't always pick up the sounds as easy. "It's old technology," Hernstadt said.

According to the invoice from the Tampa-based company, the costs are based on an identical system used by the Hillsborough County Schools for television studio equipment. In addition to the microphones, the new equipment will include an antenna, mixer, program receiver, cables, handheld transmitters and batteries.



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