Lee Health community waterway

Charrettes with community leaders and master planners led to the extension of roadways, and walking and bike paths in the plans for Lee Health community, Fort Meyers, Fla.

Renderings courtesy of Flad Architects

From the time that the community of Estero, Fla., first reached out to Lee Health, Fort Myers, Fla., seeking help with its health care needs, through to the planning of the forthcoming health village, growth within the development’s footprint was anticipated and planned.

The master plan for the health village supports Lee’s primary care mission in each successive phase, and Dave Kistel, vice president of facilities and support services with Lee Health, says the plan gives the health system a lot of future flexibility. “If we eventually see a need for certain specialty services that would be done by an outside entity,” Kistel says, “we certainly have outparcels available. We have the space and the ability within our master plan to respond to that.”

But it’s the growth outside the footprint that eventually may help to determine what the health village becomes. Just the knowledge that Lee Health owned a large piece of property that would one day be a center for medical services of some kind led to the development of other nearby land, such as a parcel south of the future health village that has become the home of an assisted living facility.

“It is drawing a lot of interest in the community,” says Suzanne Bradach, Lee Health’s director of special projects. “Based on the discussions I’ve had with commercial developers who’ve asked about the project, I think that once people start seeing it rise from the dirt, there will be a lot more commercial activity in that area.”

“I am sure that over a period of time, as those facilities start to populate the community around us, there will be relationships between our team and those facilities and patients," Kistel says. "This site has been master-planned to support different subspecialties of care, whether we choose to do them or we choose to lease space to organizations that do. Either way, in keeping with our goal to promote healthier lifestyles, we will have the appropriate response to support people’s needs.”