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Monday, June 27, 2011

Residents fired up after state agency breaks rules and tears up Historic District

Sign structure on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers
Florida's Department of Transportation is coming under fire, accused of tearing up a historical section of Fort Myers and skirting the rules by not pulling the required permits. Margie Willis has lived along McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers for more than 60 years. When she saw workers building a huge traffic sign next to her house it threw up a red flag. She exclaims, "I think it's ugly, I don't like it!"

McGregor Boulevard
Willis knows that McGregor Boulevard is a historical district and the State's Department of Transportation did *not* get permission to build the sign. Willis says, "Nothing is to be done with it without the approval of the Historical Committee or the City of Fort Myers."

Councilman Mike Flanders
City Councilman Mike Flanders says D-O-T never pulled a permit to build the sign, "A permit is needed in the City. We own the road and we would never allow this type of sign at this location." So Four in your Corner went to Florida's D-O-T local headquarters in Fort Myers to find out why. Southwest Florida's D.O.T Director Johnny Limbaugh claims the city did know about the sign because his office gave city officials the plans. He says "Typically they go to a high level official, I don't know who in this case received the plans."

 D.O.T. workers spent about a week pouring the concrete slab for the sign and building up the concrete base. They even had the wiring structure in place so they could install the underground electrical system. Now that they have to tear it all down, we wondered who would be stuck with the bill. According to D.O.T. this is the private contractor's fault and they will have to pay to remove it. Limbaugh claims the contracting company, Traffic Control Devices, Inc.' is responsible for the oversight, "Actually this contractor designed and is building it so as part of the design process he should have done some more coordination to make sure the sign is in an acceptable location."
But Willis doesn't buy it and feels D.O.T. is also to blame, "The state should have gotten the permits from the City if they wanted to do something like that, I don't think it's the contractor, they just contracted him to build it."

Flanders says Fort Myers has owned historic McGregor Boulevard for 10 years but D-O-T still thinks it belongs to them. He thinks that maybe why they didn't pull any permits, " The State has some communication problems within their own department about who owns the road and who doesn't."

'Traffic Control Devices. Inc.' was hired to build about 50 signs throughout Lee County. Four in your Corner wanted to get their side of the story but today we could only get their voicemail.We will stay on top of this one and keep you updated.
To view the Fox 4 report click here:

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