Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park - Lee County Parks & Recreation's newest site - will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Dec. 12.
The park, at 213 David Ave., features 11 acres of open space on a site that once was part of an 18-hole golf resort called Admiral Lehigh Golf Resort, which fell into disrepair during the recession.
What neighbors once called an eyesore has become an eco-park. Its main feature is a half-mile paved multi-use trail encircling a 3-acre replicated prairie with more than 18,000 native grasses and wildflowers.
The park also features picnic pavilions, a boardwalk and observation area with interpretive signs, an outdoor fitness area, restrooms and free parking. Leashed dog walking is permitted on the trail.
"The fact that the site reuses part of an old golf course illustrates Lee County's commitment to preservation," Lee County Parks & Recreation Director Dave Harner said.
He noted that 90 percent of the site's existing trees such as pines and cabbage palms were preserved and most of the invasive exotic plant species were eliminated.
The park retains much of the site's original topography, integrating various berms, greens and sand traps of the old golf course into its design, so fewer nonrenewable resources were expended by on-site construction equipment to grade the site.
The park also contains a series of manmade rain gardens - planted depressions - that help to improve water quality by capturing and filtering runoff prior to discharge into Able Canal.
The project was partially funded by a $126,300 grant through the Recreational Trails Program administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The lead design consultant was EnSite and the general contractor was Casey Construction.
Park hours will be dawn to dusk daily. A LeeTran bus stop is located across the street from the park's entrance, providing people with the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ride-sharing.
For more information, visit: www.leeparks.org or call (239) 533-7275.