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Purchase of Lehigh Lake to be considered

November 21, 2012
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Ruth Ann Anglickis, who is a spokesperson for One Voice of Lehigh Acres, said today that she is optimistic about the new Lee County Board of Commissioners making a decision to purchase Lake Lehigh in its 20/20 plan.

But first the Lehigh Lake project, also known to many in the community and the Lehigh sinkhole and "bottomless lake" must get two appraisals that will be brought before the commission.

The outgoing Board of County Commissioners agreed to purchase the Lehigh Lake property through the 20/20 project, according to Anglickis.

Article Photos

Ruth Ann Anglickis

She said the commissioners talked ab out maintaining the lake and Oak Hammock Park. However, this is contingent on getting the two appraisals and an okay from the Blue Ribbon Committee, then an offer to to Ken O'Leary to see if he will accept an offer from the county.

If all goes as planned, Anglickis said the new board of county commissioners could vote on the purchase of the lake and its surrounding property by December or January.

Anglickis, who is vice president of Landex Resorts International Inc. at 1100 Homestead Road in Lehigh, said she wanted to offer a big thank you as a representative of One Voice of Lehigh Acres to the previous board. In an email to the board of commissioners, she wrote:

"On behalf of One Voice and the many residents of Lehigh Acres (we think we're up to 90,000 by now), we want to thank you so very much for continuing to pursue the purchase of Lehigh Spring and the surrounding Old Florida Oak Hammock area for our community through the 20/20 program.

"This archaeological site and park area will be a legacy you have created while sitting on the Lee County Board of Commissioners. We are truly blessed to have each of you working for the good of our community and Lee County."

She said she wanted to thank former Commissioner Ray Judah for his support and starting the movement to acquire Lehigh Lake.

"We are eternally grateful to Ray Judah and will miss him a lot. His contributions to Lee County have been a tremendous asset to all who live here. And to Brian Bigelow, thanks for always being in our corner. We appreciate Tammy Hall and all that she is doing for us," Anglickis said.

She also said thanks to Commissioners Frank Mann, Cecil Pendergrass and Larry Kiker for their support. Pendergrass and Kiker are new members of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners.

Both new members have visited the Lehigh Lake separately and have talked to Anglickis about the project, she said.

"I told them of the importance of our lake as it is potable water into our aquifer and that we will develop picnic areas in the Oak Orchard Park. In front there will be parking and it will all tie into the proposed Admiral Park Community Center.

Earlier the full Con servation 20/20 group voted against the acquisition of Lehigh Spring. A 50-5 tie forced Chairwoman Carrie Call to make the final decision and she voted no. She explained she didn't think it works with the goals of the 20/20 project.

However, Anglickis said it (the project request) still moves on to the county commissioners.

The lake has been the topic of concern for a large number of supporters in Lehigh, including the Community Council, the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, and all the clubs and organizations in the community. There have been several hearings in Fort Myers as the project worked it ways up the the commissioners.

The full committee of the 20/20 project had considered the purchase of Lake Lehigh for the second time and it was sent back for secondary review over the summer.

Anglickis said the Lake Lehigh project fits into the mission statement of the 20/20 project.

Over the last year, many from Lehigh have shown up in support of the purchase of the lake. Also supporting the lake project have been several professional people who are interested in history, archaeology, biology and other sciences. All have agreed that the lake is a gem piece of property and should be maintained. It is estimated that the lake is some 200 feet deep and may be a 2.5-million-year old sinkhole.



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