The revitalization of the Fort Myers Downtown River District has reached a new level. Go beyond the new brick streets and palm trees with many new activities including Art Walk, Music Walk and the now famous Florida Repertory theatre Company which was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as being "profoundly satisfying" and see an artist's paradise looming in the very near future. Recently, in the Fort Myers News Press, an article appeared that show plans have been made to create the largest Art Co-op in Florida on what was once a former rail station.
James DiGiorgio, a local metal artist who is CEO of the nonprofit co-op says "there is nothing like this in Florida now." Plans include galleries, artist studios, a sculpture garden, practice for local bands, a café, a metal and woodworking shop, a TV production studio and three resident arts groups: The Laboratory Theatre of Florida, a dance troupe and a musical ensemble.Â Ken von Heidecke, a world famous choreographer who recently purchased at Oasis has offered to direct a ballet troupe.
All of this will be on the sprawling, 6 acre property which boasts four steel buildings on the former 1922 terminal for Seaboard Railroad. Anchoring the facility will be the Lab Theater, the community-theatre housed at Sidney Berne Davis Center. Artistic director Annette Trossbach has been working to turn the 10,000 square foot southernmost building into a theatre with a ticketing booth.
DiGiorgio hopes to start work on the co-op property by July 1 and fundraisers will likely start soon after that. All of this adds to the already vibrant downtown community and will bring visitors from all over.