Hodges University has made a $5,000 donation to the city of Fort Myers for the redevelopment and upgrading of Clemente Park on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Boulevard near downtown. Improvements for the park are all part of the city’s larger MLK & Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevards (VSSB) Revitalization Plan, which calls for the renovation and expansion of both Clemente and Dunbar parks to create a cultural oasis that will include community facilities and neighborhood commercial businesses.
“Hodges does so much for our community in providing educational opportunities for our residents, but this comes as quite a surprise,” said Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. “We can’t thank Hodges enough for this most generous donation, and look at Hodges as a partner in improving the quality of life for our citizens.”
Home of historical landmark Williams Academy, a local historic landmark, the Clemente Park project’s first phase will include a large picnic pavilion, nine small picnic pavilions, three drinking fountains, a walking trail, two restroom facilities and increased landscaping in an effort to integrate historical, cultural and recreational resources into a functional neighborhood park. The park also houses offices for the Lee County Black History Society and a building utilized for classes and workshops.
“Hodges University is proud to be part of the Fort Myers community,” said University president, Dr. Terry McMahan. “We know that our donation will go to instilling a spirit of pride in the area surrounding Clemente Park, and we hope it serves as a highly visible centerpiece of Dunbar. With its amenities and the adjacent Black History Museum, that area is vital in honoring the community’s heritage and identity. We applaud the city leaders for taking the important steps necessary to renovate this wonderful facility for future generations of Dunbar residents.”