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Civic Association makes some changes

February 19, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Not much changed with the board of directors at the North Fort Myers Civic Association during its annual election at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center last week.

There was one exception.

Christy-Lee Iwanow, founder of Benches for our Babes, an organization that buys and builds benches for bus stops in North Fort Myers, replaces Rudy Berndlmaier, who had served for five years.

Article Photos

The North Fort Myers Civic Association Board of Directors gather for a photo during the group’s monthly meeting at the recreation center.

Benches for our Babes was formed following the deaths of two school children who were waiting at, or walking home from, a school bus stop in the dark.

President Doug Dailey gave Berndlmaier, who said he still plans to work on behalf of the group, a large amount of credit for his work with the organization and led a standing ovation from the rather large gathering, who came to make their vote count.

"It's been a pleasure and you cannot achieve as much pleasure from anything else than when you give yourself, and I have enjoyed that all these years," Berndlmaier said. "I appreciate everyone's help in my efforts."

Reelected to the board were Dailey, Kim Tester, Laura Ray, Danny Ballard and Laura Lewis.

Ray moved into the second vice president position. Other than that, everything else stayed the same, with Dailey remaining as president, Ballard remaining as first vice president, Lewis as secretary and Tester as treasurer.

Iwanow said she is looking forward to take part in all the group's events and proud to be a member of the community.

"I want to be a role model for everyone else, step up and really take a stand and participate in all the area's events," Iwanow said. "In the past year I found my voice and I can help everyone else. It started with Benches for our Babes and the civic association has been supportive and I wanted to stand with them."

In other business, Christina Gray, who last month made an emotional plea for the civic association to help get streetlights within the Suncoast community following the death of her daughter, who was fatally injured in what police say was a hit-and-run, returned to get an update on their progress.

Progress been slow, those attending the meeting were told.

One of the problems is that there is no easement on those properties for sidewalks, which also would have to be addressed.

County Commissioner Brian Hamman said he would be willing to take some federal money they get for projects for lights in Suncoast for the 2020 or 2021 fiscal year.

Ballard said in reality, this is a 5- to 7-year project, since it would take zoning and surveying to get poles and lights in. He also said the Lee County Sheriff's Office would like to see lights before sidewalks.

"They're going into a very dark area and they usually don't see anything until they see the flash of a gun," Ballard said. "I think most of the people in Suncoast would like the same thing."



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