WHAT IS THE GREATER DUNBAR INITIATIVE?
Despite its rich history and cultural attributes, the greater Dunbar area in Fort Myers, Florida has struggled with issues such as distressed housing, crime and unemployment. The Greater Dunbar Initiative is a collaborate effort with residents to honor this valuable community as it improves the neighborhood and residents’ lives.
In fact, the residents of Southward Village and the surrounding neighborhood, along with supporters throughout Southwest Florida, have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address three areas of influence:
THE OPPORTUNITY ZONE
HOW WILL IT IMPROVE LIFE FOR RESIDENTS
OF SOUTHWARD VILLAGE?
The Greater Dunbar Initiative will address the needs of residents in the 199-unit Southward Village public housing community with improved opportunities. Specifically, the transformed Southward Village site will include 375 new mixed-income apartments, of which 159 will be reserved for Southward Village residents. An additional 40 homes will be available at a 90-unit development on Cleveland Avenue. All housing will be supported with new infrastructure and complemented with amenities including:
WHAT ELSE IS INCLUDED
IN THE PLAN?
In addition to new housing, the Greater Dunbar Initiative’s $97.8 million comprehensive transformation plan will help people in the neighborhood with increased access to services, economic opportunities and healthy foods while also improving connectivity and visibility.
The Greater Dunbar Initiative’s comprehensive transformation plan will increase access to resources for people in the neighborhood with strategies for education, employment, and health care. This includes the renewal of critical neighborhood resources to improve way of life for residents such as Franklin Park Elementary School and STARS recreation complex.
The Greater Dunbar Initiative’s comprehensive transformation plan will enhance residents’ lives, making healthy foods accessible and increasing economic opportunity. This includes new business and employment opportunities at the Farmer’s Market, McCollum Hall and more.
CONNECTIVITY AND VISIBILITY
The Greater Dunbar Initiative’s comprehensive transformation plan makes it easier for residents to connect to the things they need by focusing its plans around the three major streets that connect the neighborhood – Edison Avenue, Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
HOW DOES THE PLAN BENEFIT CURRENT RESIDENTS?
The Greater Dunbar Initiative’s comprehensive transformation plan was created to meet the needs of residents in the area, facilitating education and employment with:
- Comprehensive case management
- Access to health care providers
- Healthy lifestyle amenities
- Workforce development programs
- Education programs to support students as they enter school, graduate from high school and begin college and careers
- On-site management offices
The Greater Dunbar Initiative Story
PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: NOW IS THE TIME!
Designated as an Opportunity Zone by the City of Fort Myers, the Greater Dunbar neighborhood is embracing partnerships that build on the community’s strengths to meet the needs of all residents like never before.
Most importantly, this initiative has the potential to receive the 2020 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, which would significantly bolster the strategic plan with an infusion of a $30 million grant.
Additionally, The City of Fort Myers has already committed to a $7 million investment into infrastructure improvements outlined in this plan. However, community partnerships will be essential to realizing the total $97.8 million capital improvements investment that is planned. The plan, for which implementation begins in October 2021, includes multiple partnership opportunities such as:
- Over $122 million in mixed income residential development
- $20.5 million enhancement of the STARS recreational center
- $50 million rebuild of Franklin Park Elementary School
- $1.83 million Explore Camp farmer’s market and outdoor recreation venue
- $3.9 million conversion of a nearby junkyard into a hydroponic urban farm to source affordable produce and fish to the grocery store and farmer’s market
- $3.25 million Oak & Ivy Food Hall at the historic McCollum Hall
- Construction of a new grocery store with a bank and retail shops
- Addition of retail, dining, entertainment and business incubation opportunities
CONNECT WITH US
The Greater Dunbar Initiative is funded through the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers, community partnerships and a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
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