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District awarded governor’s grant for water treatment projects

By Staff | Sep 25, 2019

Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District has been awarded a governor’s grant through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a $1 million boost for district projects.

This grant is part of Gov. Rick DeSantis’ plan for the restoration and protection of Florida’s water resources.

According to District Manager David Lindsay, this grant will help fund more than one of their water treatment projects.

“In the West Marsh we are getting ready to build our storm water management structures. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection originally gave the district $970,000. Then we were recently notified that the governor had allocated money strictly for use in water quality/storage projects. It just now became available for the DEP to distribute, so we will now be awarded an extra million from the governor’s grants,” Lindsay said. “That will total $1.97 million in grants for our water projects, which can also be used towards our Section 10 project design.”

Previously the district was looking to allocate $750,000 for the design phase of Section 10 project in Lehigh Acres.

“Thanks to this extra grant money from the DEP, we only need $375,000. We will just be asking for half the amount previously determined from legislators on the design of Section 10,” Lindsay said.

Both projects fall under the district’s storm water management system and are necessary steps towards acquiring real improvements in the health of the Caloosahatchee and estuary by the improvement of water quality and aquifer recharge, and additional storage for the Orange River Basin.

According to Lindsay, through grants and creative partnerships with agencies including the Florida Department of Transportation, South Florida Water Management District and Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the district has not had to initiate any debt since 2011.

Other agenda items discussed at the board’s Sept. 16 meeting included a motion to approve an aerial crossing over Carp Canal.

“We basically gave the approval for LCEC to run their cables pole to pole over the canal,” Lindsay said.

District commissioners also voted in favor of a developer’s agreement with Lendlease Towers III LLC.

“The company builds cell towers and has asked to place a tower on one of our properties. We voted to enter into an exploratory agreement to look into the feasibility of the tower,” Lindsay said.

A FDEP Appropriation Grant Agreement for C.R.E.S.T. was pulled from the agenda.

“This agenda item was removed because they didn’t get it to us on time. Legislators awarded us $87,000 last year, and we will receive an additional grant so we can put in $88,000 to design the Caloosahatchee River Estuary Storage and Treatment project. In a big storm, this storage area could store up to 400 acre- feet of water, which would reduce flooding,” Lindsay said.

The board also discussed a developer’s agreement for water storage on a property off State Road 82.

“It’s a triangle shaped property outside of our boundaries, but in order to develop their property, they need a place for their drainage. There is no place but through our system. If approved, this would be a hybrid project where we are allowing someone to drain through our system. The district would charge them 125 percent per year than people inside our district pay,” Lindsay said.

During the board’s commissioner/staff report, Commissioner Chair Mike Bonacolta mentioned that meetings were currently under way with the Board of Lee County Commissioners in regards to the assuming of additional powers.

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District will hold its next meeting and a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. at the LA-MSID, at 601 East County Lane. For information, visit LA-MSID at www.myecwcd.net/

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