Lee County, Florida

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Lee County, Florida
Seal of Lee County, Florida
Seal
Map of Florida highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedMay 13, 1887
Named forRobert E. Lee
SeatFort Myers
Largest cityCape Coral
Area
 • Total1,212.89 sq mi (3,141 km2)
 • Land803.63 sq mi (2,081 km2)
 • Water408.26 sq mi (1,057 km2), 33.69%
Population
 • (2010)618,754
 • Density769/sq mi (297.1/km²)
Congressional districts17th, 19th
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Websitewww.lee-county.com
 
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Lee County, Florida
Seal of Lee County, Florida
Seal
Map of Florida highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedMay 13, 1887
Named forRobert E. Lee
SeatFort Myers
Largest cityCape Coral
Area
 • Total1,212.89 sq mi (3,141 km2)
 • Land803.63 sq mi (2,081 km2)
 • Water408.26 sq mi (1,057 km2), 33.69%
Population
 • (2010)618,754
 • Density769/sq mi (297.1/km²)
Congressional districts17th, 19th
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Websitewww.lee-county.com

Lee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 618,754.[1] The county seat is Fort Myers,[2] and the largest city is Cape Coral.

The county is coextensive with the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) designated by the Office of Management and Budget and used for statistical purposes by the United States Census Bureau and other agencies. The MSA was first defined as the Fort Myers, Florida Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area in 1973. In 1981 Cape Coral was added as a principal city, and the MSA was renamed the Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Florida Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1983, the name was changed to Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1990 it became the Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2003 the name was changed to its present form.

History[edit]

Lee County was created in 1887 from Monroe County. It was named for Robert E. Lee, Confederate general in the American Civil War.

Incorporated in 1886, Fort Myers is the center of a popular tourist area in Southwest Florida and the seat of Lee County. It is about 120 miles (190 km) south of Tampa at the meeting point of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers was the frequent winter home of Thomas Edison, as well as Henry Ford.[3] Lee County has been the host to several Major League Baseball teams for Spring Training, over the past several decades. Currently, it is the spring home of the Boston Red Sox, as well as the Minnesota Twins.

Fort Myers, built in 1850 as a military fort to fend off Seminole Indians that were massacring the area’s few settlers, was named after Col. Abraham C. Myers, who was stationed in Florida for seven years and was the son-in-law of the fort’s establisher and commander. In 1858, after years of elusive battle, chief Billy Bowlegs and his warriors were persuaded to surrender and move west, and the fort was abandoned. Billy’s Creek, which flows into the Caloosahatchee River, was named after a temporary camp where Billy Bowlegs and his men awaited ships to take them west.

In 1863, the fort was reoccupied by Federal troops during the Civil War. In 1865 the fort was attacked unsuccessfully by a small group of Confederates. After the war, the fort was again deserted.

The first settlers arrived in 1866, but it was not until 1882 when the city experienced a significant influx of settlers. By 1885, when Fort Myers was incorporated, it was the second largest city only to Tampa on Florida’s west coast south of Cedar Key, even larger than Clearwater and Sarasota, also growing cities at the time.

Fort Myers first became a nationally known winter resort with the building of The Royal Palm Hotel in 1898. But what really sparked the city’s growth was the construction of the Tamiami Trail Bridge built across the Caloosahatchee River in 1924. After the bridge’s construction, the city experienced its first real estate boom and many subdivisions sprouted around the city.

In 1923, Collier and Hendry Counties were created by splitting these areas from Lee County.

On August 13, 2004, the county was struck by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, particularly on the northwestern islands of Captiva, Gasparilla and North Captiva.

Geography[edit]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,211.89 square miles (3,138.8 km2), of which 803.63 square miles (2,081.4 km2) (or 66.31%) is land and 408.26 square miles (1,057.4 km2) (or 33.69%) is water.[4] Rivers and streams include the Caloosahatchee River, the Imperial River, the Estero River, Hendry Creek, and Orange River.

Lee County is on the southwest coast of Florida. It is approximately 125 miles (201 km) south of Tampa and 115 miles (185 km) west of Fort Lauderdale via Interstate 75; and approximately 125 miles (201 km) west-northwest of Miami via U.S. Highway 41.

Lee County is the sole county in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Climate[edit]

Lee County has a year-round warm, monsoon-influenced climate that is close to the boundary between tropical and subtropical climates (18 °C (64 °F) in the coldest month), and is thus either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), which is the classification used by NOAA,[5][6] or a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw).[7] Lee County has short, warm winters, and long, hot, humid summers, with most of the year's rainfall falling from June to September. The temperature rarely rises to 100 °F (38 °C) or lowers to the freezing mark.[8] At 89, Lee County leads the nation in the number of days annually in which a thunderstorm is close enough for thunder to be heard.[9] The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 64.2 °F (17.9 °C) in January to 83.4 °F (28.6 °C) in August, with the annual mean being 75.1 °F (23.9 °C). Records range from 24 °F (−4 °C) on December 29, 1894 up to 103 °F (39 °C) on June 16–17, 1981.[8]

Climate data for Fort Myers, Florida (Page Field), 1981–2010 normals
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)90
(32)
92
(33)
93
(34)
96
(36)
99
(37)
103
(39)
101
(38)
100
(38)
98
(37)
95
(35)
95
(35)
90
(32)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C)74.7
(23.7)
77.2
(25.1)
80.4
(26.9)
84.6
(29.2)
89.4
(31.9)
91.5
(33.1)
91.9
(33.3)
91.8
(33.2)
90.5
(32.5)
86.7
(30.4)
81.3
(27.4)
76.6
(24.8)
84.7
(29.3)
Average low °F (°C)53.7
(12.1)
55.9
(13.3)
59.4
(15.2)
63.1
(17.3)
68.7
(20.4)
73.5
(23.1)
74.5
(23.6)
74.9
(23.8)
74.3
(23.5)
69.1
(20.6)
62.0
(16.7)
56.4
(13.6)
65.5
(18.6)
Record low °F (°C)27
(−3)
27
(−3)
33
(1)
39
(4)
50
(10)
58
(14)
66
(19)
65
(18)
63
(17)
45
(7)
34
(1)
24
(−4)
24
(−4)
Rainfall inches (mm)1.89
(48)
2.13
(54.1)
2.84
(72.1)
2.02
(51.3)
2.72
(69.1)
10.28
(261.1)
9.14
(232.2)
10.21
(259.3)
8.55
(217.2)
2.67
(67.8)
1.92
(48.8)
1.69
(42.9)
56.06
(1,423.9)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)5.55.26.24.26.816.017.617.915.46.84.44.5110.5
Source: NOAA (extremes 1892–present)[8]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
18901,414
19003,071117.2%
19106,294104.9%
19209,54051.6%
193014,99057.1%
194017,48816.7%
195023,40433.8%
196054,539133.0%
1970105,21692.9%
1980205,26695.1%
1990335,11363.3%
2000440,88831.6%
2010618,75440.3%
Est. 2012645,2934.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2012 Estimate[11]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 440,888 people, 188,599 households, and 127,681 families residing in the county. The population density was 549 people per square mile (212/km²). There were 245,405 housing units at an average density of 305 per square mile (118/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.69% White, 6.59% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.07% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 9.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 86.7% spoke English, 8.7% Spanish and 1.1% German as their first language.

In 2005 the population was 76.6% non-Hispanic white, 14.3% Latino, 7.5% African-American and 1.1% Asian. (Source=http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12071.html)

There were 188,599 households out of which 22.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.60% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 24.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 25.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,319, and the median income for a family was $46,430. Males had a median income of $31,247 versus $24,380 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,542. About 6.70% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.20% of those under age 18 and 5.60% of those age 65 or over.

Law enforcement and crime[edit]

See: Lee County Sheriff's Office
See:Lords of Chaos (self-styled teen militia)

Education[edit]

See: Lee County School District for primary and secondary schools in the area.

There are multiple colleges in Lee County. They include: Florida Gulf Coast University, Barry University, Nova Southeastern University, Edison State College, Hodges University, ITT Technical Institute, Keiser University, Southwest Florida College and Rasmussen College.

Libraries[edit]

The Lee County Library System [1] has 14 branches. The town of Fort Myers Beach, though located in Lee County, maintains its own independent public library.[2]

Municipalities[edit]

Incorporated[edit]

Unincorporated[edit]

Islands[edit]

Politics[edit]

The area is represented in the United States House of Representatives by Trey Radel, 19th district, and by Tom Rooney, 17th district.

Presidential elections results
YearRepublicanDemocraticOther
2012[13]57.8%41.30.9%
2008[14]54.7%44.3%1.0%
2004[15]59.9%39.0%1.1%
2000[16]57.6%39.9%2.5%

Transportation[edit]

Airports[edit]

  • Southwest Florida International Airport, in South Fort Myers, serves over 7.6 million passengers annually. Currently, the airport offers non-stop flights to two cities in Germany (Munich and Düsseldorf) and two in Canada (Montreal and Toronto), in addition to 35 domestic non-stop destinations. 21 airlines operate scheduled service to and from the airport, with Delta Air Lines serving a plurality of the airport's passengers. On September 9, 2005, the airport opened a new terminal.
  • Page Field, also in South Fort Myers, just south of the incorporated limits of the City of Fort Myers, is the county's general aviation airport. Prior to the opening of Southwest Florida Regional Airport in 1983 (now Southwest Florida International Airport), Page Field was the county's commercial airport.

Seaports and marine transport[edit]

A small port operation continues in Boca Grande, being used as a way-point for oil distribution. However, Port Boca Grande has been in decline for many years as the shipping industry has moved north, especially to the Port of Tampa.

In addition, a private enterprise operates a high-speed passenger-only ferry service between Fort Myers Beach From San Carlos Island and Key West. Another ferry service is offered from Fort Myers to Key West

Major highways[edit]

The Southwest Florida Expressway Authority is an 8-person body including transportation officials from Lee and Collier Counties, the role of which is to raise toll revenue to widen and improve major arteries throughout both counties. Of particular priority is the needed revenue to widen the I-75 freeway beyond the 6-lane expansion due to begin in March 2007.

Trans-bay crossings[edit]

I-75.svgInterstate 75The county's only fully controlled-access freeway, and has ten interchanges within Lee County, linking the area to Naples, Fort Lauderdale and Miami to the south and east; and Sarasota and Tampa to the north. The freeway is due to be widened and improved dramatically from its current 4-lane structure, beginning in March 2007. Plans include express/local lanes, and/or HOT Lanes, coordinated by the Southwest Florida Expressway Authority. [3]
US 41.svgU.S. Route 41
Tamiami Trail
Cleveland Avenue
US 41 runs the length of Lee County, and is the county's main north-south arterial highway. It is a major commercial corridor, running as an elevated highway through the center of downtown Fort Myers, continuing south as a multi-lane divided surface highway through the communities of South Fort Myers, San Carlos Park, Estero, and Bonita Springs. From north-to-south, the highway's name starts as "North Tamiami Trail", changes to "Cleveland Avenue" from the Caloosahatchee River to State Road 884 (Colonial Boulevard) in the City of Fort Myers; then it is called "South Cleveland Avenue" from Colonial Boulevard to County Road 876 (Daniels Parkway), and then changes to South Tamiami Trail until the border with Collier County.
Florida 80.svgState Road 80
Palm Beach Boulevard
SR 80's western terminus is in downtown Fort Myers. The multi-lane highway runs east-northeast along the southern banks of the Caloosahatchee River as "Palm Beach Boulevard" within the county, traversing the state of Florida to connect the area with LaBelle, Clewiston, and West Palm Beach.
Florida 82.svgState Road 82
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Immokalee Road
SR 82's western terminus is in downtown Fort Myers. The highway is called "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard" within the incorporated limits of the City of Fort Myers, becoming "Immokalee Road" as it passes through Lehigh Acres and connects the area to Immokalee.
Florida 884.svgState Road 884
Veterans Memorial Parkway
Colonial Boulevard
Lee Boulevard
SR 884 is Lee County's main east-west arterial highway. Its western terminus is in the incorporated limits of the City of Cape Coral and the eastern terminus is in Lehigh Acres. Within Cape Coral, the highway is named "Veterans' Memorial Parkway", and is a multi-lane controlled access highway. Within Fort Myers, it is named "Colonial Boulevard". The road crosses the Caloosahatchee River as an elevated highway across a toll bridge, interchanging with U.S. Highway 41 and Interstate 75, then becomes a multi-lane divided surface highway through Lehigh Acres. After it intersects with State Road 82, it is called "Lee Boulevard".

Major road bridges[edit]

  • Caloosahatchee Bridge (U.S. Highway 41): 4-travel-lane single-span bridge connects North Fort Myers with Fort Myers, over the Caloosahatchee River.
  • Cape Coral Bridge (College Parkway/Cape Coral Parkway): 4-travel-lane single-span bridge (two eastbound, two westbound) connect Cape Coral with South Fort Myers, over the Caloosahatchee River.
  • Edison Bridge (State Road 739): Two 3-travel-lane spans (one northbound, one southbound) connect North Fort Myers with Fort Myers, over the Caloosahatchee River.
  • Interstate 75: Two 2-travel-lane spans (one northbound, one southbound) between the State Road 78 ("Bayshore Road") and State Road 80 ("Palm Beach Boulevard") interchanges, over the Caloosahatchee River.
  • Matanzas Pass Bridge (State Road 865): 3-travel-lane single-span bridge crosses Hurricane Bay and Matanzas Pass within the incorporated limits of the Town of Fort Myers Beach, connecting the mainland to the barrier islands.
  • Midpoint Memorial Bridge (State Road 884): 4-lane single span bridge that connects Cape Coral with Fort Myers, over the Caloosahatchee River. The Midpoint Bridge will be part of the future Bi-County Transportation Corridor.

Mass transportation[edit]

Fixed-route bus service is provided by the Lee County Transit Department, operated as "LeeTran". Several routes extend outward from the Downtown Intermodal Transfer Center; in addition, suburb-to-suburb routes are operated, as well as park-and-ride service to and from both Fort Myers Beach and Southwest Florida International Airport.

The Downtown Intermodal Transfer Center in Fort Myers also serves as an intermediate stop on Greyhound Lines bus service.

Media[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

Newspapers include the Fort Myers News-Press, Florida Weekly and Naples Daily News.

Radio[edit]

Arbitron standard radio market: Ft Myers-Naples-Marco Island.[17] With an Arbitron-assigned 783,100 listening area population, the metropolitan area ranks 62/299 for the fall of 2006. The metropolitan area is home to 32 radio stations.

Television[edit]

Nielsen Media Research designated market area: Ft. Myers-Naples.[18]

Number of TV homes: 479,130

2006-2007 U.S. rank: 64/210

Sports[edit]

ClubSportLeagueTier/DivisionVenue (capacity)
Florida EverbladesHockeyEast Coast Hockey LeagueMinor league — Third TierGermain Arena, Estero (7,100)
Fort Myers MiracleBaseballFlorida State LeagueMinor league — Class AHammond Stadium, S. Fort Myers (7,500)
Boston Red SoxBaseballMajor League BaseballSpring trainingJetBlue Park, Fort Myers (11,000)
Minnesota TwinsBaseballMajor League BaseballSpring trainingHammond Stadium, S. Fort Myers (7,500)
Florida Gulf Coast EaglesMen's basketballAtlantic Sun ConferenceDivision I (NCAA)Alico Arena, Fort Myers (4,500)

Fort Myers is home to Florida Gulf Coast University. Its teams, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, play in NCAA Division I in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Eagles' men's basketball team had an average attendance of 2,291 in 2013.[19]

MLB spring training[edit]

Red Sox logo on the fence outside the City of Palms Park

The Boston Red Sox hold their annual spring training at JetBlue Park in the Fort Myers area. A cross-town rivalry has developed with the Minnesota Twins, who conduct their spring training at Hammond Stadium in south Lee County, which has a capacity of 7,500 and opened in 1991.

The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, but the Red Sox were considering exercising the early out in their contract that would have allowed them to leave following the 2009 spring season. On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. The new stadium, named JetBlue Park at Fenway South, is located off of Daniels Parkway near Southwest Florida International Airport. The stadium opened in time for the 2012 Spring training season.

City of Palms Park had been built in 1992 for the Boston Red Sox spring training. Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training.[citation needed] The deal for JetBlue Park left City of Palms Park without a tenant. County officials have talked about the possibility of securing another team for City of Palms. Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is also not currently in use by a Major League Baseball team, though it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Jane Colihan "Spring Break," American Heritage, February/March 2006.
  4. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/documentlibrary/ewdcd/ewdstations-wmo.pdf
  6. ^ It should be noted the NOAA document used classifies locations as warm as Newport News, Virginia as "continental", but areas with drastically more extreme climates, such as Wichita, Kansas as "sub-tropical".
  7. ^ "Köppen Climate Classification Map:". Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Department of Climate Science. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  8. ^ a b c "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  9. ^ "Weather Variety - Annual Days With Thunderstorms". Weatherpages.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2008 results
  14. ^ Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2008 results
  15. ^ Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2004 results
  16. ^ Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2000 results
  17. ^ "Market Ranks". Arbitron.com. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  18. ^ Retrieved from http://www.nielsenmedia.com/nc/portal/site/Public/menuitem.3437240b94cacebc3a81e810d8a062a0/?vgnextoid=130547f8b5264010VgnVCM100000880a260aRCRD[dead link].
  19. ^ 2013 NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL ATTENDANCE. Retrieved March 29, 2014.

External links[edit]

Government links/constitutional offices[edit]

Special districts[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Coordinates: 26°35′N 81°55′W / 26.58°N 81.92°W / 26.58; -81.92