On Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, the Naples Botanical Garden assessed the damage Hurricane Ian caused in Vivas Palm Park, which is located just north of The Irving in Downtown Fort Myers, Florida.
The Garden's Isabel Soto; Alzada Vice President of Development Ryan Anderson; and locals Jim & Linda Pridgen met to walk the park and make a full assessment of the more than 50 trees in Vivas Palm Park.
Jim Vivas Pridgen is a descendant of the Vivas family, the original settlers of the property that The Irving and the park are located on, part of which stayed in the family for nearly 100 years. The park property – originally part of the Caloosahatchee until it was filled in during the early 20th century – was gifted to the City of Fort Myers by the Vivas family for the sole purpose of creating a public park, and was dedicated in the 1950s.
While some of the park’s benches, trash receptacles, and light posts were damaged, almost all of the trees weathered the wind and storm surge. In addition to a special palm fertilizing and pruning regimen, the Garden has recommended the removal and replacement of four trees – an African Oil Palm (Elaeis geuneensis) which has died, two severely damaged and possibly beetle-infested Silver Bismarck Palms (Bismarckia nobilis), and a severely compromised Triangle Palm (Dypsis decaryi).