I like the concept of urban landscape. I'm almost tired of malls and shopping centers and I thought that downtown had a really cool atmosphere to it. The presence of plants and trees definately made it feel less like a "city-city" which I like also. When I think of NYC I think of buildings everywhere, subways, trains, tons of cars, pollution, and most of all TRASH! Downtown seemed to be very well maintained and connected well to it's outside surroundings.
There were numerous plants and animals while walking in downtown. I liked the palm tree exhibit; the different kinds of palm trees from all around. There was always places to sit and relax throughout the city also. The green spaces were just outside the "walls" of downtown where it would be easy and convenient to be with family and friends. I can honestly say that I feel emotionally moved by this place. I had no idea that downtown Fort Myers had such history (anywhere from the theatre being used in a movie to actually being used as a military fort).
The city seems to be devoted mainly to people rather than vehicles, parking, etc. I saw one parking garage while I was walking and not a lot of "thru-traffic" was allowed downtown unless you were actually trying to get to a certain place. I think that it is easier to park just outside the city and to walk places than to drive into the city and try to find parking and the cost is more expensive. I think it equaled out to only a couple bucks to park for an hour in the parking garage just outside the city. Inside the city, was more expensive and you'd be driving around forever trying to actually find a parking spot. I think that this is a hint to park your car in the garage and take a nice walk; you never know what you may find! There are a lot of stores and also government centers within the city. The little art shops, restaurants, post offices, court house all generate parking needs. Parking is different varying on times, weekdays, weekends, etc. which is possibly arranged to meet the needs of the public. I also remember from the field trip the use of brick on the road. The brick roads of downtown make it less likely for cars to speed or even drive downtown. This is pedestrian and biker friendly.
I think some of the newer life of the city comes from bars and restaurants. It's something out of the natural for most people. Instead of taking an hour to go eat somewhere that you always eat, you and your family or friends could "make a night" out of downtown. Go out to eat, grab a couple drinks, and explore! I think that shopping malls have taken away from downtown because it is what's convenient and popular. I think many people think they won't find anything downtown and it would just be a waste of time and they have no interest in finding out about the history of Fort Myers. I don't think that downtown Fort Myers has a goal of growth on their mind but rather maintenance. I think money should go to helping people find out about downtown and what it can provide to the public. For example, I had no idea before this field trip that downtown could even become an option in my nightlife or even everyday life.
There are both hotels and apartments located within downtown Fort Myers. If I had to work anywhere close I would love to live within the city of downtown. It is well kept and a vibrant, beautifuil area. People who live here may shop within or outside the city. I know a Farmer's Market was mentioned on our tour and I think that this would be a great place to stop by while looking for groceries. Personally I don't think downtown is trying to grow by any means, but rather to keep downtown looking good; by urban renewal and such. Although urban renewal and expanding it's boundaries could also play an important role to complimentary support each other.
As far as homelessness and graffiti I didn't see any during the day while we were walking. I think that downtown is well kept and minimal as far as crime. A lot of places, although having an older look to them, seemed to have good security and no one would bother to try to rob anywhere. I would feel comfortable traveling in downtown day or night. I feel that all the places open up either to a main road or somewhere convenient and there aren't really any places to get stuck where an uncomfortable situation may occur. I think tourists are safe and I would definately live in a place (not forever) like this if I needed to. It's convenient and would be somewhere fun to experience and live in for a while.