Within a week, a second park has been officially dedicated with ribbon cutting ceremonies marking the official opening of the new Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park. It is located off of David Ave., just behind a dollar store, off of Joel Blvd.
Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann who represents Lehigh on the board was the master of ceremonies. He said he was proud of the attention that Lehigh is getting from county government and thanked the people in the community who border the park for their cooperation during the construction phase.
Joining him during the official ceremony were Lee County Commissioners John E. Manning, Cecil L. Pendergrass and Brian Hamman. Commissioner Larry Kiker had planned to be on hand but was unable to attend at the last minute.
Commissioner Frank Mann was master of ceremonies at opening of Trailhead Park in Lehigh Acres.
Also on hand was David Harner, director of Lee County Parks & Recreation.
For those who have lived in Lehigh for several years, the new park was a portion of the old Admiral Lehigh Golf Course. The park is built on the west side of David Ave., and is 11 acres in size. The official address is 213 David Ave.
People in the area said that when the old golf course closed in 2007 , that area became an eye sore. No longer financially viable, the resort closed and the golf course quickly became an ugly area.
But in 2008, the county bought some 11 acres which was a portion of the old golf course and turned it into what they are calling an eco-friendly park.
For folks who want to walk or run for exercise, there is no better area as there are benches along the 12-foot while trail which is designed for multiple user groups not only including walkers, but joggers, runners, people in wheelchairs, cyclists, skateboarders and inline skaters.
A quick walk around the park shows picnic pavilions, a boardwalk and observation area overlooking the area, an outdoor fitness area and various site amenities.
There is an area for plenty of parking and there are also restrooms on the trail.
Commissioner Mann during his speech said that the park will in the future be linked to a greenway corridor along Abel Canal.
A Welcome sheet passed out to visitors noted that Lee County had opted to redevelop this parcel and preserved more than 90 percent of the existing trees and eliminated the majority of invasive exotic species.
Park officials say no fewer than 19,000 native plants were planted at the park which included 297 trees and 381 palms.
It was a cloudy morning last Thursday, Dec. 12, when the park was officially dedicated. Many of the visitors took the walk around the park and noted its beauty.
Officials noted that the park backs up to some of the backyards of neighbors as it did when it was a golf course.
"It is a very unique park and the neighbors here were very important and we met their needs," said Joe Harner, director of parks & recreation, when he got up to speak before the crowd.
Eventually, officials said, the park will lead through other parks and end up at Harns Marsh, a beautiful large lake maintained by the East County Water Control District.
ECWCD manager David Deetscreek was on hand during the ceremony and said the park was well designed and he knew the people of Lehigh would enjoy using its facilities.
The area is not far from where Lee County planners are looking into a section to be redeveloped in the future as a community neighborhood center.
Commissioner Mann also noted that the county is still negotiating with the owner of the deep spring, which is nearby, to be added to its 20/20 program. It will also become a part of the Admiral Lehigh future community center.