Finally, there is one group of "shakers and doers" in Lehigh Acres. That group is the Lehigh Acres Community Council and it voted last week to accept a merger with the Lehigh Community Planning Panel. A ceremony was held to swear in some of the new members who are taking seats at the table during Community Council meetings.
But it took an hour of debate before the group was voted in. Some members of the Community Council said they had not received a report from their representatives who were to meet with three representatives of the Lehigh panning group and were not ready to reach a decision.
The debate continued with several other items that Community Council members were suggesting that had to take place before a merger and after a while a motion was made and then an amendment and then a withdrawal and then another motion to merge the two groups.
During the ongoing discussion Community Council member Damon Shelor suggested that the Council do a vote.
"We have two groups that want to join together tonight. We're trying to develop one voice for Lehigh and I see no reason for a delay," Shelor said.
But the debate continued.
Finally Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann raised his voice and told everyone it was time to vote. He lectured the group for the time it was taking to make an easy decision.
"I can't believe this is that difficult to vote. We could have peace in Syria before this gets done," he said.
It was Mann who had initiated the merger several weeks ago, claiming that Lehigh needs one voice, one group of officials to represent Lehigh Acres.
At a LACPP meeting, he said oftentimes, officials in Lee County government received calls from members from other groups and they may be in conflict with others who have spoken to the commissioners and their staff.
"We need one voice as I have said before," Mann said last Wednesday night.
"You've all got me so confused as I don't even know what the motion is," he exclaimed at one point. "Read the motion over again and let's get to it and vote and get it done," he said.
A voice vote was held and the motion passed with three dissenters who voted no.
There was some confusion voiced over whether the Architectural Review Board, which had been part of the planning panel, would become a subcommittee of the Community Council, but finally members decided to work on how it would be handled at a future meeting.
Tami Baker conducted the meeting in place of Jim Kreger, the current president, who had to leave for another meeting.
The Community Council meets on the third Monday night each month at the Lee County Sheriff's Substation in the rear conference room. There are about 40 or so members of the group. The public is invited to all meetings.
Mann said he was happy that one group will now represent all of Lehigh and suggested that residents with major concerns about the community attend the Community Council meetings.
"Did I lecture them, yeah you can say I did," he said as he left the meeting.
"But now we have one group to death with and that is good for Lehigh Acres," Mann said.