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Council may seek stimulus funds for econ development

By Staff | Dec 11, 2009

Cape Coral could receive more than $38 million in stimulus funds designed specifically for “qualified economic development purposes,” if the city is designated a “recovery zone.”
City council is moving toward nabbing the designation, the first step in the process, though it is not immediately clear what comes next.
Financial Services Director Mark Mason did not return phone calls seeking additional information, but the funds could mean significant job creation for one of the hardest hit areas from the recession.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the United States Treasury Department established $10 billion in economic development bonds and another $15 billion in recovery facility bonds.
The city has been allocated $15,370,000 in recovery zone economic development bonds and $23,069,000 in recovery zone facility bonds, which have to be issued before Dec. 31, 2010.
The city has also previously used federal stimulus dollars for sidewalk projects.
Council members would have the final say on which projects would be funded using the bonds.
According to city’s Monday agenda item, the funds could be used for qualified capital improvement projects or infrastructure projects that promote economic development within the recovery zone.
Mayor John Sullivan said he thinks the funds are a great idea, and he equated the funds to the free economic stimulus.
Regardless of what the money is used for, Sullivan said the city can use every penny it can get.
“Any money we can get, we’re going for it,” he said.
Council plans to vote on whether to move forward with pursuing the funds Monday, though there seems little resistance to the idea.
“It’s definitely something we’re interested in,” said District 1 Councilmember Marty McClain.
The Cape Coral City Council will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.