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Botanical garden, cafe among many new additions to Edison & Ford Winter Estates

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fort Myers will soon have a new cultural district. A major tourist attraction in Fort Myers is announcing expansion plans.

Thomas and Henry Ford’s winter homes, which attract hundreds of thousands of people each year, are set to receive a $4 million upgrade.

Assets have been frozen in preparation for the turn of the 21st century.

Edison-Ford Winter Estates is definitely a Fort Myers gem. They plan to invest millions of dollars in the property.

That would include building a new restaurant, new classrooms and replacing old parking lots and turning them back into botanical gardens.

Thousands of tourists spend hours every day strolling the homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

The grounds and house have changed little since Edison built the riverfront estate in 1886.

“I can only imagine that the day they lived here was the highlight of the whole area,” said Renea Adrian when she visited the property.

However, some major changes are taking place.

David Adrian said: “I think it would be great as long as it doesn’t take away the feel of the place and change the existing settings.

CEO Mike Flanders promised the changes would not affect historic preservation.

“We will be magnifying a lot of the things we have that have been kept in a small bag over time over the past 60 years,” says Flanders.

The artwork shows that a new Citrus Café will be built between Ford Cottage and the citrus grove facing the water.

Mary Ogle also visited the site and felt the need for a restaurant.

“I would love to have lunch or dinner here. Just sitting here in this peaceful setting is serene,” Ogle describes.

The plans also call for building around the property so they can expand festivals and summer camps.

“We will put buildings there like a new educational classroom building, a new administration building, a new museum, a shop, a ticket office. All of that will be fairly new during the build,” notes Flander.

Ogle described the grounds as luxurious and beautiful as Mina, Edison’s wife wanted them to be.

“It was one of Mina Edison’s wishes that it would be a botanical park open to the public,” Flander said.

However, that means removing the concrete on the property. The parking lot at the entrance of the site off McGregor Avenue will be returned to the botanical gardens as it was when Edison’s owned the property.

Flanders believes these improvements will boost property values.

Mayor Kevin Anderson pointed out that City Walk-like developments continue to grow around the properties.

“We have a special interest in this property. Anderson said.

The mayor called the development a victory for the estates and a victory for the city and its people.

Make sure the estates continue to be one of the most visited historic sites in America.

https://nbc-2.com/news/local/2022/02/09/botanical-gardens-cafe-among-many-new-additions-to-edison-ford-winter-estates/ Botanical garden, cafe among many new additions to Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Tom Vazquez

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