Dozens attend meeting on Kismet/Littleton realignment plans
One plan would displace three families and cost more than $11 million to complete, while the other displaces no one, utilizing land that is mostly unused and would come in with a price tag more than $2.5 million cheaper.
Most appear to be leaning toward the second option.
Dozens of North Fort Myers and Cape Coral residents came to a public meeting Tuesday at Northside Baptist Church on Littleton Road to see the two options being considered for the connection of Kismet Boulevard and Littleton Road, and while one option seemed to draw more interest than the other, a North Fort Myers resident came up with a third option that even engineers did not consider.
Engineers were there to answer any questions people had. Maps were shown of the two options being considered – the Northern and Southern options.
Vincent Miller, Lee County senior engineer and project manager, said the residents did a good job providing input on what they saw, many of them for the first time.
“Most people are getting their first few of this and want to know how this will affect them. The first thing people do is find their house and see if it’s still there,” Miller said.
In the Northern option, Kismet would veer northward to pick up Littleton. This option would mean displacing three families, impacting 20 parcels and a final price tag of more than $11 million.
The Southern option would send Kismet straight through 24th Street and cut through vacant property owned by LCEC, as well as some land owned by Randy Krise, who plans to build an industrial park in the area.
Both plans will put a roundabout on Littleton at Corbett Road which will shave off further land from Krise. All told, he will lose about four acres.
“I love the idea. I want to put in a convenience store, a 12,000-square-foot building, self-storage and still have room for eight to 10 small buildings,” Krise said.
County Commissioner Brian Hamman, who saw the plan before anyone, said this project has been among his big priorities since taking office. He was leaning toward the Southern option.
“The Southern option doesn’t take down any houses. I want to save people money on their taxes and keep them from losing their homes,” Hamman said.
Dana Brunett, Cape Coral’s Economic Development Director, said he also liked the Southern plan.
“The Southern makes the most sense. We have a willing seller on the south side. I want to see it keep moving because I want to see the industrial land developed,” Brunett said.
Danny Ballard, a member of the North Fort Myers Civic Association, came up with a way to bypass Littleton all together, by sending Kismet through the property that will be used for an industrial park and having it connect to Diplomat Boulevard.
Ballard said it would cost much less in the long run, with no property owners getting impacted for what could be an extremely expensive expansion of Littleton Road in the future which could include taking down power lines.
“We can tie into the four-laned Diplomat that’s already there. There are no houses to take down, it’s vacant property, there are no power lines to deal with and they don’t have to build a bridge across the creek,” Ballard said.
Miller said he asked Ballard to provide a comment and will be taken into account in the report. A four-lane Littleton has a lot of people worried, even if it isn’t part of the current Littleton/Kismet plan.
“We have 5,000 residents in our four mobile home parks, which can only enter on Littleton. It will be horrendous,” said nearby resident Janis Smith. “Widening it will destroy the area.”