Lee County, Florida
|Lee County, Florida|
Location in the state of Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
|Founded||May 13, 1887|
|Largest city||Cape Coral|
1,212.89 sq mi (3,141 km²)
803.63 sq mi (2,081 km²)
408.26 sq mi (1,057 km²), 33.69%
769/sq mi (297.1/km²)
Lee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. Located in southwest Florida, the principal cities in the county are Fort Myers (the county seat) and Cape Coral (the county's most populous municipality). In 2003 the population of the county was 586,908.
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.
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. 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. As recently as 2004, discussion had taken place surrounding the possibility of the city of Cape Coral becoming its own county, citing in particular a perceived lack of infrastructure support from the Lee County government. However a new county has not yet been created.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2008)|
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.
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 
- Charlotte County, Florida (north)
- Glades County, Florida - (northeast)
- Collier County, Florida (southeast)
- Hendry County, Florida (east)
National protected areas 
- Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
- J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
- Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge
- Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge
As of the census 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 
- 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.
- City of Bonita Springs Population 43,517
- City of Cape Coral Population 154,499
- City of Fort Myers Population 65,729
- Town of Fort Myers Beach Population 6,874
- City of Sanibel Population 6,321
- Boca Grande
- Burnt Store Marina
- Charleston Park
- Cypress Lake
- East Dunbar
- Fort Myers Shores
- Harlem Heights
- Lehigh Acres
- Lochmoor Waterway Estates
- Matlacha (on Matlacha Island)
- Matlacha Isles-Matlacha Shores
- North Fort Myers
- Page Park
- Palmona Park
- Pine Island Center
- Pine Manor
- Pineland (on Pine Island)
- Punta Rassa
- San Carlos Park
- South Fort Myers
- St. James City
- Suncoast Estates
- Three Oaks
- Whiskey Creek
- Babcock Ranch Florida a proposed solar-powered city.
- Big Hickory Island (Lovers Key / Carl E. Johnson State Park)
- Cabbage Key
- Captiva Island
- Cayo Costa (Cayo Costa State Park)
- Estero Island (Town of Fort Myers Beach)
- Gasparilla Island (community of Boca Grande)
- Little Hickory Island (Beaches of Bonita Springs)
- Matlacha Island
- North Captiva Island
- Pine Island
- San Carlos Island
- Sanibel Island (Town of Sanibel)
- Useppa Island
|This section requires expansion. (May 2008)|
- 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 
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 
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 
|Interstate 75||The county's only fully controlled-access freeway, and has nine 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. |
|U.S. Route 41
|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.|
|State 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.|
|State Road 82
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
|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.|
|State Road 884
Veterans Memorial Parkway
|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 
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 
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.
Arbitron standard radio market: Ft Myers-Naples-Marco Island. 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.
Number of TV homes: 479,130
2006-2007 U.S. rank: 64/210
- WBBH - NBC affiliate
- WFTX - Fox affiliate
- WGCU - PBS member station
- WINK - CBS affiliate
- WXCW - CW television network affiliate
- WZVN - ABC affiliate
- WNFM - MyNetworkTV
- WTPH - Azteca America
Professional sports 
|Florida Everblades||Hockey||East Coast Hockey League||Germain Arena, Estero|
|Fort Myers Miracle||Minor League Baseball||Florida State League||Hammond Stadium, South Fort Myers|
|Boston Red Sox (Spring training)||Major League Baseball||American League||jetBlue Park, Fort Myers|
|Minnesota Twins (Spring training)||Major League Baseball||American League||Hammond Stadium, South Fort Myers|
See also 
- Florida's Metropolitan Statistical Areas - Population - retrieved July 18, 2006
- Jane Colihan "Spring Break," American Heritage, February/March 2006.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- American FactFinder - Results
- "University of Virginia Library". Mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2008 results
- Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2004 results
- Dave Leip's Presidential Election Atlas - 2000 results
- "Market Ranks". Arbitron.com. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- Retrieved from http://www.nielsenmedia.com/nc/portal/site/Public/menuitem.3437240b94cacebc3a81e810d8a062a0/?vgnextoid=130547f8b5264010VgnVCM100000880a260aRCRD[dead link].
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lee County, Florida|
- Lee County Government / Board of County Commissioners
- Lee County Supervisor of Elections
- Lee County Property Appraiser
- Lee County Sheriff's Office
Special districts 
- Lee County Public Schools
- Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization
- South Florida Water Management District
- Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council
- Lee County Fire Chief's Association
- Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau
Judicial branch 
- Lee County Clerk of Courts
- Public Defender, 20th Judicial Circuit serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties
- Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit
- Circuit and County Court for the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida
||Charlotte County||Glades County|
|Gulf of Mexico||Hendry County|
|Gulf of Mexico||Collier County|