FGCU clearing 12 acres of land: What's going there?
If you are driving along Ben Hill Griffin Parkway these days, it’s difficult not to notice the clearing of land adjacent to the north entrance of Florida Gulf Coast University.
FGCU, located about two miles southeast of the Gulf Coast Town Center and Alico Road in Fort Myers — where there has been a significant spike in growth and development recently — is simply meeting requirements for possible development in the future.
The clearing of the 12-acre parcel started April 26 with a timeline of three to five months to finish the work. The land is located on the southeast corner of FGCU Lake Parkway West and Ben Hill Griffin Parkway.
By the way:FGCU's Water School comes to life, opens to students later this year
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Pam McCabe, a spokesperson for the university, said the land clearing is in accordance with an Army Corps of Engineering permit that expires at the end of the year. The university purchased the land in 2011 from Miromar Development Corporation, which originally held the permit to clear the land.
In an email to all university faculty and staff on May 10, FGCU President Mike Martin outlined some of the key aspects of the project, including the fact that this piece of property represents “one of the last larger, upland, buildable sites available.”
He added in the email:
- The project will not reduce FGCU’s footprint of protected land on campus, and a wildlife survey shows there are no environmental concerns.
- The land is largely occupied by melaleuca, a non-native invasive tree species. The land will be hydroseeded as part of the clearing project, so the area will become green space that FGCU will maintain.
- The site has been designated as a location for a community connection/outreach facility for some time. It is described as Outreach District #3 in the last two Campus Master Plans (2015-25 and 2020-30), which were approved by the Board of Trustees.
- FGCU's permit to clear will expire relatively soon, so the university is now making this available land suitable for future FGCU use.
FGCU’s newest academic building, the Water School, will open to students later this year.