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County, Cape officials meet informally on swim center

By Staff | Mar 20, 2010

Cape Coral and Lee County officials met Thursday to discuss how a unified approach might work to foster an agreement between local government and the organization hoping to build a competitive swimming complex in the city.
Cape Councilmember Marty McClain, a strong supporter of making the project happen in the Cape, said the meeting attended by staff and officials was called to make sure there were areas of agreement between the city and county, which also is interested in the project.
“The meeting was simply to get together as a team and make sure we’re all asking the same questions as to funding and a business plan,” McClain said Friday.
Officials from the National Swimming Center Corporation, which is proposing the multi-pool, multi-sport complex, were not involved in Thursday’s meeting, he said.
McClain and City Manager Carl Schwing met with County Commissioner Tammy Hall and County Manager Karen Hawes. Also attending were Sports Authority Director Jeff Mielke, Deputy County Manager Bill Hammond and city Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman, all in the hope of getting both sides on the same page, McClain said.
The county has faced criticism for stating officials there would happily take on the project should the city falter, or take a pass.
Cape Coral City Council member Bill Deile has previously stated he doesn’t understand why, if the county is going to build it regardless, they can’t make it happen on this side of the river.
Other parties reached declined comment concerning additional details.
Both Schwing and Hawes declined to comment, but city spokeswoman Connie Barron said the information is being prepared for both city council and county commissioners before being released to the public.
“It’s an evolving situation,” Barron said. “We’re trying to figure out how we can work together on this particular project.”
More information is expected to be released next week, officials said.
Meanwhile, a Cape Coral citizen is doing her part to show city council that residents want the project to be built here.
Cindy McKay said her goal is to collect 10,000 signatures in support of the swim center, a move she hopes will show Mayor John Sullivan a large number of people support the project.
She said she hopes the mayor, who cited 2,000 signatures in support of restarting the Kessler utility audit, will see the petition’s validity.
Never having conducted a petition before, McKay said she’s learning as she goes along, and that’s she collected thousands of signatures so far.
“I feel this is a very good thing for the Cape,” McKay said. “If we don’t do it we might as well shut off the lights and close the door.”
Council is expected to make its final decision on the swim center April 26, and McKay plans on presenting the signatures then.
Between now and April 26, she said she’ll be presenting information to city council, in hopes of clearing up what she says are many misconceptions about the project.
“I believe there’s a lot of inaccurate information out there,” McKay said.
People interested in signing the petition can contact McKay via email at jcmckayfl@comcast.net.