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Business leaders working to find swim center funding

By Staff | Apr 10, 2010

The Cape Coral Council for Progress said members are working with city staff to find multiple funding sources for the proposed swimming complex, the Concourse at Cape Coral.
Executive Director Joe Mazurkiewcz said they have discovered four possible sources to help fund the project’s $30 million public contribution.
Those sources include:
* Set up a community development district around the project’s boundaries.
* The county could designate the area as a regional park and use impact fees.
* The county’s Industrial Development Authority might be able to commit some cash through revenue bonds.
* The state might be able to provide a sales tax exemption.
Mazurkiewicz said the bondable state option could help to provide $22 million alone, which the city could pay back at a rate of $125,000 a month for 40 months.
Finding a way to make the swim center work was crucial, he said. Doing so will provide a much-needed economic boost for the city, bringing jobs and eventually, cash.
“The only way this fails is if we don’t try,” Mazurkiewicz said. “If the city says no to this project … then who will come play with us in the future? We have to be a major partner in this project until it is no longer feasible.”
District 1 City Councilmember Marty McClain said the state option has been used before, citing the Pine Island Road Extension as a reason that it could work.
McClain, along with Mazurkiewcz and City Manager Carl Schwing, recently lobbied for the swim project during Lee County Days in Tallahassee.
He said these possible funds are a result of work by Gary Aubuchon.
“The money is starting to materialize through different revenue sources,” McClain said.
District 3 Councilmember Pete Brandt, though, said he still has not seen enough of a business plan from National Swim Center officials to make him feel comfortable with moving forward.
He said, too, that he would have trouble with conveying the entire 180 acres of the Academic Village property.
He added that he’s for the project, but hasn’t found a way to satisfy his concerns.
“I would love to see this as a viable program, and it doesn’t seem that way to me,” Brandt said.