Dunk City Mayor – Randy Henderson
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017 with Dunk City Mayor Randy Henderson
With floor to ceiling glass windows, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson’s office has an impressive view of the beautiful downtown he is entrusted to govern. He points to The Veranda and says, “Right there in that building, Ginny and I had our rehearsal dinner.” This year they’re celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary and his 16th as a public servant.
He first came to Fort Myers with his soon be wife at the age of 19, during winter break at Mars Hill University and remembers, “The city made an impression on me.” Graduating in 1979, the future public servant got a job in banking before establishing a commercial real estate business, which he still owns.
While Mayor Henderson is excited about the corporate growth in Fort Myers, it’s the small businesses that hold an important place both in his and the city’s heart. He explains, “All my life I’ve been a small business person and the evidence is everywhere that small businesses prop America up… prop our cities up.” For that reason, he continues to work on policies that help, rather than impede the operations of small businesses.
Not only does the mayoral office have a view, but also a wall full of photos and memorabilia of Florida Gulf Coast University’s men’s basketball team. The mayor still gets giddy talking about the Eagle’s playing in the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Championship tournament. He booked a last minute flight to watch the team nicknamed “Dunk City” play the University of Florida saying, “It will go down as one of my life events.”
And while holding the city’s top spot is full of fun and inspiring stories, he says, “I have had moments when I walk through that door and double over…There’s no finding the kind of words to describe the heartache when you lose a citizen.”
He adds, “I pray every week, help Chief Diggs, help our city council, our city manager; lets get this right.”
The mayor, with his friendly southern drawl, is embarking on his 6th election campaign–he loves his job. He also wants to see some of the projects he’s worked on as both a councilman and mayor come to fruition, explaining, “Some of the most fun is going to happen in next 30-40 months.” Things like First Street Village, the arrival of the SWFL Community Foundation, new home and condo developments downtown and in east Fort Myers, Harborside improvements and more.
One of the mayor’s favorite projects, a long time in the making, McCollum Hall is on the verge of coming into its own. He states, “Once the thriving entertainment center in the African American community in the WWll days, it featured such greats as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King Lionel Hampton, Otis Redding, and Lucky Milliner, to name a few. Duke Ellington and his orchestra performed there in 1947. Mayor Henderson dreams of a day when this is brought back to current day as entrepreneurs examine the opportunity. City Council is eager to entertain ideas from talented business minds who may be able to make this dream reality. It is being done all around Fort Myers and this is an opportunity waiting to be born.”
The mayor continues, “I think in the next 48 months you’re going see 400 million dollars in additional private investing to that which is already in place… a billion dollars in a decade; (big smile) it speaks well about Fort Myers.”