In the Know: Where in the world is Dunk City?

TIM ATEN
Dunk City wallpaper for your desktop, smartphone or tablet. (Photo by Scott McIntyre/Naples Daily News)

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Scott McIntyre

Dunk City wallpaper for your desktop, smartphone or tablet. (Photo by Scott McIntyre/Naples Daily News) Download using this link: http://media.naplesnews.com/media/img/photos/2013/03/26/wallpaper03.jpg

Where in the world is Dunk City?

It’s a question that has been asked on the national stage during March Madness, but some local folks have wondered for years where Florida Gulf Coast University calls home.

Is the FGCU campus in Estero, San Carlos Park or Fort Myers?

The correct answer, technically, is none of the above. It is in unincorporated Lee County on a site between Naples and Fort Myers, the site selected to avoid turf wars between the two communities, according to Ben Hill Griffin III, whose company donated the land.

San Carlos Park may have some claim on the campus as it resides within the city’s fire district. More persuasive, however, may be its postal address: Fort Myers.

“The campus is located in Fort Myers,” FGCU spokeswoman Susan Evans said.

Although it’s not within the Fort Myers city limits, FGCU is considered to be based there, Evans said, noting that even the national media know where Fort Myers is on the map.

“If they didn’t know about it before Georgetown, they know about it now,” she said.

Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann agrees that Fort Myers can claim FGCU.

“Historically, we are Fort Myers. It really depends on your perspective,” Mann said. “I think of so much of this area as the Greater Fort Myers area, which includes everything but Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Cape Coral.”

Mann said it’s the same thing for Southwest Florida International Airport, which also is in unincorporated Lee, but considered to be in Fort Myers.

“When you are flying into Southwest Florida International, or RSW, the pilot says, ‘We are approaching Fort Myers,’ or ‘We’ll be arriving in Fort Myers in 10 minutes’,” he said. “Nobody comes to RSW or Southwest Florida International; they come to Fort Myers.”

Although he lives in the unincorporated town of Alva, and his home mailing address is Alva, Mann said his friends know he lives in Fort Myers.

“I know people who live in LaBelle (in neighboring Hendry County), and they tell people they live in Fort Myers,” he said.

Even if you’re not convinced that Fort Myers can lay claim to the university, the chairman of the Estero Council of Community Leaders acknowledges FGCU is definitely not in Estero.

“Anybody who knows the lines knows that it’s not in Estero,” Nick Bato said.

The east-west Estero Parkway is generally the dividing line between Estero to its south and San Carlos Park to its north, Bato said, noting that FGCU is well north of the parkway.

“Of course, when you have a team like this, it’s everybody’s team and we all want to take pride in it.”

That sentiment may be something everyone can agree on here. But is the newly dubbed Dunk City a name just for FGCU or does it include the entire regional community?

The answer to that question also depends on one’s perspective.

“Dunk City is the FGCU campus. We are Dunk City,” Evans said. “Right now, Dunk City describes a spirit and a very successful university.”

Mann, though, thinks Dunk City refers to a larger area, which he sees as encompassing the five-county Southwest Florida region of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry. The success of FGCU’s basketball team is a victory many can celebrate, he said.

“Especially those who watched FGCU be born and grow up and reach national prominence. This is really exciting,” Mann said. “I’m enjoying the excitement.”

But, is the Dunk City moniker everlasting or fleeting?

“I don’t see it going away anytime soon,” Evans said.

“It remains to be seen whether this nickname will jell,” Mann said. “If they win the tournament, it will be Dunk City for the next 100 years.”

Tim Aten’s “In the Know” columns are published every Monday and Wednesday in the Naples Daily News. Email him at intheknow@naplesnews.com

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