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Lee County plans to expand one of Lehigh’s oldest parks

July 3, 2019
By MELISSA BILL (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Lee County Commissioners recently voted to purchase a three-acre site to expand Lehigh Acres Community Park.

The $70,000 parcel is adjacent to the northern boundary of the existing park and is in addition to another 49.43 acres the board agreed to buy earlier this year.

According to Lee County Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Alise Flanjack, the county originally purchased the 49 acres, and then was offered the option to buy the adjacent 3 acres by its owner.

"The extra land will help us build more multi-use fields and then add some walking pathways and develop around existing lakes and ponds on the west side," Flanjack said.

The combined land will be used to build additional multipurpose fields and other park amenities for youth leagues and the public, including restrooms, a concession stand and additional parking. Most importantly, for Pop Warner Football, it means a separate dedicated field of its own.

"For years now Pop Warner Football has been anxious, trying to get this project. The older Little League baseball teams have had to share the same field as Pop Warner Football, which meant they have to take a break each year. This additional land purchase will allow the county to build a separate football field, concession area and parking lot, so that Little League Baseball can have a field to themselves," Flanjack said.

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According to Flanjack, another issue faced by all the teams is adequate parking.

"It gets really jammed when you have the Lehigh Acres Community Pool sharing the same parking lot. They have their morning classes and patrons. Then add baseball or football games and practices and it's just not enough space. It will be nice to have a parking lot dedicated just to those multi-use fields," Flanjack added.

The park expansion will begin design in the fall, but the completed project will be a few years out.

"Our next step is to go in and start clearing out the lots. We have a basic design layout, but still need to get a more comprehensive plan prior to build-out. There are a few extras that are being considered such as a concession stand that includes an adjacent locker room and conference room. It would be a place where the players could get out of a potential lightning storm during a game," Flanjack said.

The Lehigh Acres Park was donated by Lehigh Corporation back in 1976.

That same year, the football field was built and dedicated. In 1977, tennis courts, baseball fields, and softball field were completed. Then in 1985, the Lehigh Community Pool was added. Many additional enhancements have been completed throughout the years such as new swings, a third picnic pavilion, a brand new playground and ENERGI Exercise Stations.

The park is at 1400 W. 5th St., Lehigh Acres. For more information about Lee County Parks & Recreation, visit www.leeparks.org, call 239-533-7275 or email leeparks@leegov.com.



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