The City of Fort Myers is well known as the "City of Palms". Royal Palm trees line both sides of one of the city's main arteries called McGregor Boulevard. Originally planted by Thomas A. Edison, Fort Myers' most famous winter resident, these majestic, towering palms are now cared for by the city's Parks & Beautification Department headed by Robert G. Olinger, a certified Arborist. Offices for the Parks & Beautification Department are located in Shady Oaks Park at 3300 Marion Street, Fort Myers. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and can be reached by calling 941-332-6891 or by Fax 941-332-6687. The Parks & Beautification staff provides landscaping maintenance of all parks, city owned properties and buildings, athletic fields, the city cemetery and neighborhood street improvement projects for aesthetic enrichment and enjoyment of its citizens. This includes irrigation, utilizing re-use water whenever possible, planting, fertilization, mowing as well as maintenance of all the park facilities and playground equipment for the enjoyment of the children. Tree trimming is also a large part of the work done by this department. Damage caused by storms, wind, rain, and deterioration to trees on city property and along the street rights-of-way is of major concern to property owners and city workers, Residents can call the office at the number stated above to report any such damage.
||The Parks & Beautification Department supplies the plant materials from its own nursery located at 4500 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Boulevard, which has grown in size from a 7.5 acre site since it was first started by its namesake Jerry Scheutz, former employee of the Parks Department. A tour of the nursery is included on the trolley tour during the Neighborhood Conference. Among the many varieties of palm trees grown at the nursery are Royals, Queens, Canary Island Dates, Washingtonias, Sagos and Arecas. Approximately 4,000 lethal yellowing disease resistant Maypan and Malayan coconuts were imported from Jamaica two years ago. These coconuts have been successfully germinated and are now growing at the nursery for future planting throughout the city as needed for new plantings or replacement of existing dead coconut trees. Visitors on the trolley tour will also see varieties of shade trees such as Mahogany, Live Oak, Jacaranda, Royal Poinciana and shrubs and ground covers like hibiscus, bougainvillea, ixora, crotons, variegated ginger, shefflera and liriope, to name only a few.|
||Some of the more notable sites landscaped by the department are the Edison/Ford Winter Estates, the City of Palms Stadium - spring training home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the Imaginarium Hands-on Childrens Museum. Visitors to Fort Myers and local residents alike enjoy the colorful and beautiful surroundings provided by the lushly landscaped areas found all around the downtown area, street medians and park locations.|
||Centennial Park and the Riverwalk beside the Fort Myers Yacht Basin, located on the scenic Caloosahatchee River, is well known throughout Lee County as a prime location for festivals, Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks, ares and crafts shows, outdoor concerts and numerous weddings which have taken place in either of the two pavillions at the park. Many joggers, walkers and bicyclists enjoy the meandering sidewalks throughout the park as part of their daily exercise.|
||Lions Park, which is located on Cleveland Avenue (U.S. Highway 41), near Lee Memorial Hospital, is a favorite location for many of the local shcools, day care centers and families around the county for day trips and picnics. Visitors will enjoy the shade at the picnic tables, barbecue grills and playground equipment. There are also tennis courts and baseball fields for the community at Lions Park.|
||There are several "mini" parks throughout the City of Fort Myers with pleasant surroundings and amenities where residents can meet and take their children to play. The city has athletic fields for softball, baseball, T-ball and the soccer complex that are well used by community Little Leagues, 50+ Senior Leagues, and even the Gene Cusic/Pepsi Collegiate Classic, girls fast pitch softball in the spring. Billy Bowlegs Complex on Marsh Avenue is the site where the now famous Deon Sanders, professional baseball and football player, first played on a Little League team.|
The City of Fort Myers Cemetery, located on Michigan Avenue, is yet another example of the fine landscape maintenance done by the Parks & Beautification Department. This cemetery, which dates back to the Civil War, was taken over by the city in 1923. It has since expanded to include the Calvary Gardens and the Garden of Memories. The cemetery caretakers provide perpetual care for the final resting places of local heros and veterans of past wars, founders of the community, and the loved ones of many current residents of Fort Myers and the surrounding area.
Efforts by the citizens of Fort Myers to beautify and maintain their properties do not go unnoticed by the city's Beautification Advisory Board members. Each month the Board, comprised of members recommended by the mayor and city council and reflecting knowledge in landscaping, plants and beautification, presents awards to select property owners. Business owners and private residents within the city are acknowledged for outstanding efforts on their part on new landscape or improved and maintained existing landscape worthy of being honored. A large sign is placed in the front of the property for all who pass to see and admire for those efforts.
The Board is also involved in promoting the city's Adopt-A-Park program to promote interest in our parks and pride in our city. Whereby, community groups or individuals are recruited to "adopt" city park areas, and through their volunteer efforts, help the city maintain and keep clean these specific areas. To participate, a letter of agreement is signed by the adopting individual, group or agency, and the Parks & Beautification Department, detailing the duties of the adoptee, which may include beautification, cleanup and/or park maintenance. The program is designed to enhance the beauty of Fort Myers, while making it a cleaner and safer place to live, save tax dollars and promote community spirit.
Through the dedication, hard work and services of the Parks & Beautification Department management and staff, the City of Fort Myers, proudly, has been designated by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for the past four years and received a Growth Award 1996. The Growth Award was created to recognize environmental improvement and higher levels of tree care in Tree City USA communities. "Trees make a world of difference in our communities", John Rosenow, The National Arbor Day Foundation's President, said. "Trees have long been recognized for the beauty and value they lend to our homes, neighborhoods, parks and business areas. At the same time, those trees conserve energy, help clean the air, protect rivers and streams, and provide a home for wildlife in our towns and cities."
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