FORT MYERS, Fla. — Southwest Florida is growing and a state grant is helping RSW International Airport keep up with that growth. Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $4.2 million on Tuesday to RSW, which gives the airport the rest of the money it needs for a $20 million infrastructure project.
The area of focus is Chamberlin Parkway, which has been on the north side of the airport since 1983.
“The road currently loops around and is a very, what I would say inefficient roadway system that runs through Skyplex,” said Ben Siegel, executive director of Lee County Port Authority.
Skyplex is used for cargo, general aviation, and rental car lots. Siegel says the project will address access to certain parts of the area. He said there is no efficient way to develop in the center of the area because of the road.
Right now if you come from Daniels Parkway, you have to loop all the way around on Chamberlin if you want to get to Skyplex Boulevard or Paul Doherty Parkway.
With the project, Siegel says drivers will be able to go straight through without looping around. This will free up the center of the area, where there’s a parking lot, which they’re expecting to use for businesses.
“The job impact is estimated to be over 1,100 direct jobs in various industries,” said Adam Callaway, deputy secretary for business development at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “The economic impact is expected to be pretty strong.”
The DEO takes in applications from Florida counties and will help determine which projects will get the grant. It’s a part of the Job Growth Grant Fund, aimed at creating work for Floridians.
Currently, the port condition of Chamberlain Parkway is restricting access to commercial development sites on the north side of the airport, stunting new business growth,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday.
$16 million comes from CARES Act funds during the first round of distribution while the rest comes from the state.
“It’s going to be a big economic driver long-term for all of Lee County,” Siegel said.
The project is expected to take off this year and should be done by 2024.