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Program prompts residents to ‘Take Pride in the Cape’

By Staff | May 7, 2009

Apart from driving home values down, rampant foreclosures in Cape Coral lead to overgrown, unkempt lawns which sink home values further.
A new city initiative is trying to combat that trend, urging residents and neighborhood organizations to conduct cleanup campaigns throughout the Cape.
“Take Pride in the Cape” seeks to gather community volunteers to help keep the city clean in tough economic times.
Frank Cassidy, code enforcement division manager, said the effort is in tandem with “Keep Lee County Beautiful,” but it is focused on the Cape.
“It’s all part of increasing our efforts in cleaning up the Cape. Let’s take this cleanup thing to a more local level, whether it’s a street, lot, block or neighborhood,” he said.
Cassidy has spoken with the Cape Coral Association of Realtors about helping with cleanup events, and will solicit volunteers from churches, schools, neighborhood associations and other community organizations.
The initiative is the brainchild of Cape Coral Councilmember Gloria Tate, who wants to buttress city beautification efforts, usually the purview of code enforcement, during the current economic downturn.
“It’s the old JFK, ‘What can I do for my city?'” Tate said, “rather than, ‘What can my city do for me?'”
In addition to an increased Cape presence in countywide cleanup projects connected to Keep Lee County Beautiful, there will be events centered solely in the Cape.
The Cape events will likely fall between existing county events in February, April, September and October.
“We’re trying to get an organized cleanup in the northeast (Cape) sometime in June,” Cassidy said.
Tate said Take Pride in the Cape will also push to get residents to maintain neighborhoods on a daily basis.
“What I hope it will do is encourage or empower residents … that they will take the first step in cleaning up someone else’s trash and their neighborhoods,” she said.
The effort comes just in time for Cassidy, who is tasked with taking care of increasing numbers of abandoned homes with less resources as the city makes cuts.
“I think our crew has done an excellent job. However, we’re really at a really critical point in keeping control over areas,” he said. “Our resources are starting to dwindle.”
To volunteer for the cleanup events in Cape Coral and Lee County, call 334-3488, or visit the Keep Lee County Beautiful Web site at: www.klcb.org for more information.