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Attorney for CRA remembered after passing away at 64

By Staff | Nov 19, 2009

The Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency lost one of its working family Wednesday as renowned land use attorney and spring training baseball guru David Cardwell died at the age of 64.
He passed away in Orlando, reportedly of complications from pneumonia and swine flu.
CRA Executive Director John Jacobsen said Cardwell believed in the CRA and its board, and had been instrumental in the last few years in helping the board institute new programs.
“This sets us back on our heels a bit,” he said. “It’s going to take us some time … not only for me, but for all of the CRAs.”
Cardwell is credited with writing much of the legislation that helped to form redevelopment agencies like the one in Cape Coral.
Serving as general counsel to the Florida Redevelopment Association, he was the de facto source of legal information for redevelopment agencies across the state.
A baseball enthusiast, Cardwell also served as executive director of the Grapefruit League Association.
He was the principle partner of Orlando-based Cardwell Law Firm, and he served as a legal correspondent for CNN.
Thinking of their 20-plus years of working together, CRA consultant Frank Schnidman said there was always a baseball game on in the background while talking with Cardwell on the phone.
Schnidman said that in his passing, Cardwell takes with him a level of respect and knowledge that might never be duplicated.
He added that Cardwell truly believed in Cape Coral’s CRA district.
“We both recognized Cape Coral has incredible potential,” he said. “We realized … with the right tools, the board could make this a unique and special place.”
Schnidman will serve as temporary legal council until the board can decide what is next.
Jacobsen said Cardwell’s mere presence gave Cape Coral automatic clout among other municipalities and CRAs.
“He made the decision to spend time in Cape Coral,” he said. “There’s something in the water here that makes people see the potential and want to make a difference … David saw that, I see it, and I know it will be great.
“David’s legacy will be woven into the fabric of the CRA,” Jacobsen said.