The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will host a Public Grand Opening and Party in the Park to celebrate their new Collaboratory on Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Party in the Park to include food trucks, live entertainment, free ice cream, games, tours and more
Located on the corner of Jackson Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at 2031 Jackson Street in Fort Myers, the Collaboratory is a public-private partnership of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the City of Fort Myers. The transformation of the former Atlantic Coast Railway Depot and construction of a new addition creates a 24,000 square-foot campus that includes the Foundation’s regional headquarters and state-of-the-art shared space for the community and tenants.
The celebration will include food trucks, live entertainment, free ice cream, games, tours, a blessing of the building and more. A brief program will begin at 2 p.m. Valet parking will be available for handicap permits and guests with physical limitations. For more details and additional parking information, visit www.floridacommunity.com/Party.
The Collaboratory features vibrant spaces for work, gatherings and special events. In addition, state-of-the-art technology encourages regional collaboration.
The Community Foundation funded the project with a $10 million New Market Tax Credit deal, or NMTC, a program that encourages economic development in distressed neighborhoods. Florida Community Loan Fund provided the NMTC allocation and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation is an investor on the project. Whitney Hancock Bank provided additional financing.
The Atlantic Coast Line railway depot was presented to the city on Feb. 4, 1924, the same year Fort Myers was poised to join the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s. In the face of shrinking revenues, the Seaboard Coast Line (which had merged with ACL) sold its track, discontinued all passenger service into Fort Myers and closed the station in 1971. After sitting empty for a decade, the Southwest Florida Museum of History opened on the site in 1982. In 2015, the museum merged with the Imaginarium Science Center to form Imag, a science and history museum, and in recent years moved physically to the Imaginarium’s site at Cranford Ave.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.3 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $79.9 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com