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Reactions mixed to plan to pave north Cape roads

By Staff | Feb 8, 2010

The roads in North Cape Coral were the primary focus of District 6 Councilmember Kevin McGrail’s first town hall meeting over the weekend at the new Northwest Regional Library.
A number of issues were discussed throughout the meeting, but a special assessment proposed by McGrail to fix roads deemed undriveable by the councilman took center stage.
McGrail plans on introducing a one-time special assessment of $500 to city council for the repair of worn roads in the northern district of the city.
The city would raise $10 million if each homeowner pays the assessment, he said, providing enough capital to pave the 120 miles of roads that need attention.
The town hall meeting on Saturday was held to determine if residents would be willing to accept the one-time assessment.
James Franklin lives on Northwest 46th Terrace and opposes the idea of having people pay for fixing the roads.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily bad myself,” said Franklin. “It’s a thin layer of asphalt, it has some pot holes but it’s not that bad.”
Franklin and other residents at the meeting live in the section of Cape Coral with a low density of housing and development. He said many of the houses in his neighborhood sit on two lots which may increase the assessment.
McGrail said the assessment would cover a standard Cape Coral single-family residential lot, with 80 feet of frontage.
McGrail said on Monday he is also going to reach out to owners of unimproved lots, and try to communicate to them their investments could be worth more if there’s good road access.
“The point I’ve been making is the properties have no chance in increasing in value,” he said. “Without the road no one is going to look at your property.”
Another resident of north Cape Coral against the the prospect of a new assessment, Greg Callen, had a list of questions he wanted answered before any assessment is levied.
“It is too up in the air and there are no answers given,” he said.
He claimed the city had no methodology for the paving project that addressed issues such as which streets would be fixed.
Furthermore, he wanted to know what would happen to assessments on foreclosed properties, houses sitting next to city parks and whether part-time city residents would also pay.
Callen and a group of parents were also pushing council to pave a sidewalk between Mariner High School and the library so that students didn’t have to walk on the road.
Although some people may support the $500 assessment, a lot of the residents at the meeting Saturday were against the proposal.
“I haven’t heard one person wanting it,” said Cathy Kelly. “It’s income out of your pocket.”
Kelly lives on Burnt Store Road and said she wouldn’t be effected by the assessment. She was attending the meeting to hear about city issues and said she heard no one speaking in support of the assessment.
McGrail said Monday there was a small but strong contingent of people at the meeting who supported the assessment and fixing the roads.
He said previously that if he didn’t find a majority of support from north Cape residents, it was possible to go street by street to find out if pockets of the community would support the assessment.
McGrail sais the roads haven’t been touched in 30 to 40 years, and something has to be done to help those asking for it.
“The people living on the streets say its long overdue,” he said.