, 2023-04-19 23:10:01,
Lee County will take over management of the Lee County Civic Center on Oct. 1, but what happens after that is anyone’s guess.
The Southwest Florida Fair Board has managed the 100-acre site for 27 years, but county commissioners last year decided to not renew the contract.
Commissioners discussed what to do next at their last three meetings. Commissioners on Tuesday were
¦ To authorize staff to prepare a transition plan for when the county takes over the day-to-day operation, including maintaining the commitment to the 4-H program and keeping as many planned events as possible.
• To vote to authorize the staff to work with the fair board to make sure the 100th Southwest Florida Fair happens next year.
• And authorize staff to hold workshops to present feedback on what the community would like to see done with the property..
Tuesday’s meeting was held after Florida Weekly went to press, but Commissioner Mike Greenwell, the board’s liaison for the Civic Center, said he expected it to pass.
The civic center opened in 1978 and once was the home for concerts and high school graduations. It has been the home to 4-H, the fair and events like gun shows and the Citrus Expo.
Beside the civic center, 13 buildings sit on the site.
A recent facility assessment paid for by the county shows how badly the site has deteriorated.
The report said the county needs to immediately fix “life safety” issues in eight buildings and the grounds for nearly $515,000.
The assessment recommends once the “life safety ‘’ issues are fixed that nine of the buildings be renovated and five replaced.
The renovations will cost $20.4 million and the replacement $3.3 million. Replacing the civic center would cost $42.2 million. Replacing all the buildings would cost $53 million.
The county closed down the grounds until “life safety” fixes can be made. Most of the fixes will take six to eight months.
The fair board offered to make and pay for the “life safety,” fixes, which it could do faster because it wouldn’t have to go through the procurement process, but Randy Crone, one of the fair board’s directors, said the country said no.
The fair board has a full schedule of events in May and June,…
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