On Tuesday, Lee County Commissioner Frank Manning’s office got a visitor. It was former Florida Senator Burt Saunders, who is now an attorney with GrayRobinson, with pictures of Gilchrist Avenue in his possession. While he was in the building to meet with other people, he stopped by to try to get a minute of the commissioner’s time. While Manning was unavailable, Saunders did say he was going to speak with the Lee County Zoning Department and Lee County Department of Transportation while he was there.
According to Nan Gonzalez, Manning’s assistant, to date no one but Saunders has come to that office looking for counsel or information about changing the parking status of the Gilchrist median.
“When he (Saunders) asked about the parking situation there, I told him we have always taken the philosophy that we will be in your face as much as you want, and as little as you want, if it’s a county matter,”Gonzalez said, referring to Gasparilla Island in general. “In this case, from what he was saying, the residents out there have talked to him about the parking and told him they will pay for it. Saunders told me all they (Gilchrist residents) want is to be able to do the project to the county’s guidelines.”
Gonzalez said she had also spoken again with Randy Cerchie, the public works operation manager for Lee County Department of Transportation, who told her he has spoken with the pastors from Gilchrist Avenue churches and with Hazeltine Nurseries, a local landscaping company that frequently uses that median for parking.
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