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Parks projects to get under way

March 21, 2019
Lehigh Acres Citizen

On Monday, Cape Coral City Council gave the go-ahead for $10.2 million in General Obligation Bonds to finance the first component of the $60 million Parks Master Plan.

Victoria Bateman, finance director, said during Monday's meeting that $10.2 million is about all the city will need for the first year. She said she expects to come back for $15 million to $25 million more in the following two years for the balance of the bond financing approved by voters in November.

Connie Barron, assistant city manager, said the money will go toward the improvements on existing parks, which is part one of the parks plan.

"We're going to work on the shade structures, playground equipment at certain locations, and those are starting now," Barron said. "Our next step is to bring on board a firm that will design the community and neighborhood parks."

City staff is soon expected to go to the neighborhoods to meet with residents to develop site plans for each new park and see what they would like to have, such as dog-walking paths, playground equipment, and wifi.

"The existing parks have the amenities already there. We will go to the neighborhoods where the new parks are planned and get feedback on the amenities they would like to see," Barron said. "We have a pretty aggressive timeline to get all of this done."

Mayor Joe Coviello said there will be signs regarding future locations of the neighborhood parks.

"The idea is to make people aware that a park is coming so we can get input on what they want to see. We have plans, but nothing is etched in stone," Coviello said. "We want to hear if they want pickleball courts, a dog park, things of that nature. We want to park to fit the community."

Councilmember John Carioscia said they will prioritize what parks they will work on and will see the results sooner rather than later.

"They've ordered sunscreen for sports complexes for when the sun sets. Fields in the east are really impacted by the defensive players facing directly into the sun," Carioscia said. "We had a kid get hurt by that several years ago when a ball hit him in the face."

Meanwhile, the city will start the Request for Quote (RFQ) process for existing parks. According to the timeline online it will solicit bids for the design, then negotiate and kick off design services in August, which should conclude sometime in December.

The city will then get the permits and approvals and solicit bids for contractors, which will go into next spring. The existing parks are expected to have their grand re-openings by the end of 2020.

The existing community parks will go through the same process, with work expected until 2021.

The Cape Coral Yacht Club is expected to be the most significant project, at a cost of close to $11 million. Plans include a parking deck, a relocation of the boat ramp, more walkability and green space and more.

"The changes being proposed will enhance the Yacht Club experience and make a significant difference in how it looks today," Barron said.

Lake Kennedy, which is expected to have new pickleball courts, which could be another priority among the community parks, Barron said, since pickleball courts are in high demand.

Among the other improvements include:

* A new funnel slide at Sun Splash,

* shell road paving at the Strausser BMX Complex

* a parking area at the Basin 4 Boat Ramp,

* park benches, picnic tables and grills and a pavilion at Horton Park,

* an eight-foot perimeter fence on the fields at the Pelican Soccer Complex

* spectator shade structures at the city's sports complexes

* a medium-sized playground, sidewalks, and lighting at Pelican Baseball Complex

* basketball courts, a parking area, restrooms and lighting at Del Prado Linear Park

* pickleball courts, multi-use path and improved landscaping at Giuffrida Park

* new lighting at Koza/ Saladino Park

For complete list of improvements go to capecoral.net/special_project_plans/parks_and_recreation_go_bond

Coviello said he has a particular interest in the sports field.

"We're trying to enhance the existing ball fields for football, baseball and soccer and there are things we're trying to get accomplished to make sure they're top notch and that it's more enjoyable for those who participate."

Eventually, seven new neighborhood parks and three community parks are expected to be built in the next decade, with neighborhood parks expected to start next year. The new community parks are expected to begin in 2022.

Voters, on Nov. 6, approved a referendum for the city to issue $60 million in GO Bonds to upgrade the city's parks, according to the city's Master Parks Plan. The city was said to be deficient in that area, especially with a city that is fast approaching 200,000 in population.

The GO Bond financing does not include the old Golf Course property, which the city is currently in negotiations to buy, or a proposed sports complex near Oasis High School.

 
 

 

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