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Organizations come together for a community effort: Civic Day

June 27, 2018
By MELISSA BILL (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

On June 20, the Lehigh Acres Municipal District hosted part one of its Community Celebration and Civic Day series. Various local government agencies, civic groups and community members showed up at 11 a.m. for the first part of the mini-series, which was held at LA-MSID District headquarters at 601 East County Lane, Lehigh Acres.

The municipal district, which is celebrating 60 years of service to the community, wanted to mark the agency's milestone and dedication to the community by calling all local agencies and organizations together to talk about future goals for the community.

According to Chairman of the Board, David Deetscreek, Civic Day is a community effort and a way to bring the separate agencies together.

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The Lehigh Acres Municipal District will host its second Civic and Community Day on Wednesday, July 25. Those wishing to participate or attend should RSVP to 239-368-0044 or cbrantley@la-msid.com and complete their forms by July 16.

MELISSA BILL

"I want this to be a Lehigh global event. It takes everyone's input and efforts towards the betterment of this community," said Deetscreek.

Immediate following the event's introduction, Deetscreek called upon LA-MSID's District Manager, David Lindsay, to give a brief look at Lehigh Acres' history, as well as share some of the current and future projects taking place with the district.

According to Lindsay, LA-MSID or as it was formerly known East County Water Control District, was created in 1958 due to a need to control water flow.

"Back in the 1930s and '40's, water was seen as the common enemy here in Lehigh," explained Lindsay.

Lehigh was a largely unpopulated area until the 1950s when Lee Ratner, a Chicago businessman, purchased a large tract of land in Lee County as a tax shelter. Ratner went onto raise cattle on the acreage and paid a few workers to move to the area and help raise beef steers on his "Lucky Lee Ranch". He ended up buying about 100 square miles and would later go on to sell lots of land to northerners looking for a place to retire.

East County was formed to drain the land and get it ready for the early settlers. They ended up doing such a good job at drainage efforts that they had to reassess things and look into the effects of stormwater over drainage, said Lindsay.

According to Lindsay, this was the early starts to the more complex role the district plays in water management and other municipal duties.

"The district is expanding its role and will have referendum during this year's election that would allow us to pick up community signage powers. One of the first things we plan on doing is have a large sign constructed that would welcome business and residents to Lehigh Acres. Make the area more attractive to those looking for commercial space," said Lindsay.

After a brief lunch intermission, Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann took the podium and spoke about the district's early beginnings and Lehigh's struggles through the recession and housing crash.

"What an exciting and challenging time. I got here right after the recession hit and there was no money, but the population kept growing. Values of homes dropped by 45 percent. It was a huge cut in the revenue coming from Lehigh and the county had to pull money out of its reserves just to keep from having to raise taxes here," said Mann.

According to Mann, it was through the help of local agencies and groups such as the Lehigh Acres Municipal District and the Community Council that the county was able to stay connected to the community.

"Now look at Lehigh and its growing population. I have waited my entire career to see things such as the widening of Homestead Road and for the resurfacing of these roads out here," said Mann. "We went from $ 1 million annually to $5 million for road resurfacing."

Mann ended with saying what a pleasure it has been to service the community and that this is an exciting time for the area.

The Lehigh Acres Municipal District will host its second Civic and Community Day on Wednesday, July 25.

Those wishing to participate or attend should RSVP to 239-368-0044 or cbrantley@la-msid.com and complete their forms by July 16.

The event will be held at the LA-MSID offices, 601 East County Lane, Lehigh Acres, 33936.

 
 

 

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