The message has been delivered. Now it's up to the Florida Legislature to appropriate money for several Cape Coral and Lee County projects on the horizon.
"It has been a very productive trip," said Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki. "We met with most everyone we needed to see. I think we got the message across, our House and Senate representatives agree to help get them through. Now we just have to wait and see.
The top topic centered on the reclaimed water pipeline from Fort Myers to Cape Coral to be used for irrigation water supply. The project is a $900,000 item already in the Florida Senate budget. The Governor just needs to OK the funding.
"The pipeline is a win-win for Fort Myers and Cape Coral," said City Councilmember Richard Leon, one of three council members also part of the Lee County Days in Tallahassee delegation. "The pipeline was vetoed by the Governor the last two years supposedly because it was not a shovel-ready project, but this year we brought back a House bill and hope we get a lot of support this time from the Governor."
The delegation pushed other projects, too, like funding for the Lake Okeechobee water quality issue including the C-43 reservoir. Another was funding for the fire pension for the Burnt Store Marina firehouse which Cape Coral services. The delegation also tried to keep the Ceitus Barrier issue on everyone's mind.
"We still need the Ceitus issue. "It's still up in the air," Sawicki said.
"People are listening," said Leon. "It's been a good experience so far. The four of us each had different areas to talk about in groups and one-on-one. We have very good representation up here, a lot of support."
The Tallahassee trip used to be called Cape Coral Days until a few years ago when it became Lee County Days. Councilmembers Lenny Nesta and Rick Williams along with economic development director Dana Brunett and utilities director Jeff Pearson also represented Cape Coral in the delegation.
"This is my first time in Tallahassee, so I did not know what to expect," said Leon. "Our representatives appreciate that we were here talking about our projects. These are things we want to see happen and things we want to see done, like the pipeline from Fort Myers to Cape Coral."
Sawicki also reported that FGCU president Wilson Bradshaw spoke at the delegation's dinner Wednesday night, announcing that he was more than willing to work with the city in bringing an FGCU campus to Cape Coral.