I honestly think that Thomas Edison bought his property on the “River of the Calusa” because he fell in love with the river, the climate, and his sense of adventure and discovery. I know that we all love the river today and want to learn more and to support programs to help the environment. Thomas Edison would champion this idea.
With that in mind, we stabilized our river frontage a few years ago with the help of a Lee County Beach and Shoreline Grant. We also added daily River Tour Cruises with the help of our partners at The Marina at Edison Ford, Pinchers and Pure Fort Myers. We are committed to continuing the development of our environmental programs.
The Edison Ford Trustees, City and elected officials will turn a spade and break ground at 4:30 p.m. on April 13th to begin the construction of a pavilion in the Coconut Grove adjacent to the historic Edison Estate. The profile of the pavilion will mirror the historic Edison River Pavilions that were repeatedly washed away over the years by the storms that travel the river in the summer and winter months.
Our solution is to re-create it on land, rather than to try to take on the river or the storms in the future. Thankfully, the Florida Department of Emergency Services and FEMA agreed that we should not continue to try to rebuild but to seek an Alternative Project. So with the help of the City of Fort Myers, we will be finally implementing the construction.
Our longtime architect, Wiley Parker, now retired from Parker Mudgett Smith created the original drawings. We are now working with Parker Mudgett Smith, AIA, Fort Myers, and our contractor, Casey Construction (who recently added the new Edison Ford Museum West Porch). Wiley is still involved with the project as a consultant now as we want his vision to be part of the final multi-purpose structure.
Honestly, we are racing the clock to finish by early July 2016, as it has been a long process from start to finish. But as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford would add … “it takes work and lots of trials to come up with an invention that works” … “and this will work to give us new programming and outdoor classroom space near our beloved Caloosahatchee.” That’s in my words but at their direction.