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Bowditch Park reaps benefits from restoration

September 30, 2011
By BOB PETCHER - , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Have you checked out the beachfront at Bowditch Park on Fort Myers Beach recently?

Bring a Frisbee disc and a friend. There is plenty of space out there to even field two flag football teams for a game.

The county-owned park is celebrating a resurgence after the Estero Island Restoration Project swept through and placed many cubic yards of sand on the critically eroded shoreline. Before contractors did the sand placement, you were lucky to have a place to sit on the beach at high tide.

Article Photos

A lone osprey sits atop a post at the end of the construction jetty at Bowditch Park on Fort Myers Beach and appears to check out the newly restored beach where visitors are enjoying its expansion.

Now, you can get a workout walking with your beach chair and supplies from the park's parking lot to the gulf's edge. It's so wide that you may get desert fever!

If you don't remember how the beach looked before, just walk over to the fully constructed jetty and look on the north side of it. You'll see the incredible difference of what beach re-nourishment can do. Let's just hope it holds.

The mile-long project began at Bowditch Point on May 1. Although weather delays, particularly wind, have slowed the progress, Contractor Florida Dredge & Dock was expected to be near Casa Playa by Sept. 30.

The jetty construction by Subcontractor Coastal Marine Construction was completed a week before the anticipated time frame of Sept. 15. The rock structure, which is extended above mean high water and built with vinyl sheet piling armored on both sides by different-size stones, will help in keeping the extended beachfront intact.

At a restoration update meeting at the end of August, one Beach resident praised the contractor about his firm's professionalism. That same person said he has worked on all types of beachfronts in Lee County and remarked on the quality of sand being placed.

Calusa Ghost Tours, the onsite vendor for recreational rentals, concessions and food at the park, has heard many positive comments from park visitors.

"We're getting really good feedback from the guests that do come to the Beach. They've commented on the beautification of Estero Boulevard and how nice the beach sand is. They are very happy with the expanded sand we have now, so we are looking forward to a good season," said Craig Timbes.

Calusa Ghost Tours, working with Florida Paddlesports, provides kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach chairs and umbrellas, fishing gear and bait, and all the gear for your Florida outdoors needs. Cast Iron Cafe serves breakfast and lunch everyday during season, but is currently closed on Thursdays.

"Once the word gets out, it should be a real banner year," said Timbes.

The north end of the Beach has seen quite the improvement this past year with the completion of the North Estero Boulevard Drainage Improvement Project, paid for by the Town of Fort Myers Beach. The restoration will give the mile-long stretch a completely new look.

So, take a "daycation" and a drive down to the northern end of Estero Island. Rent a kayak or just grab a beach chair and a book. Relaxation awaits.



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