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Resident presents alternative swim center proposal

By Staff | Apr 12, 2010

Community Redevelopment Agency board member Jim Martin thinks a swim center in Cape Coral is a great idea, just not the one that’s been discussed and proposed in recent weeks.
Martin, along with Olympic gold medal diver Pat McCormick, presented an alternative swim center plan to the Cape Coral City Council Monday night, one that is decidedly less ambitious than the Concourse at Cape Coral.
He said the facility would focus solely on swimming, not retail, hospitality or education, as proposed with the Concourse at Cape Coral, and require far less land.
Martin’s plan also has a price tag that’s not to exceed $15 million, though he admitted he didn’t know where the money would come from as he does not have any investors lined up.
He said that he did not have a specific site picked out for the swim center either, but thinks it should be located south of Pine Island Road, between Chiquita Boulevard and Del Prado Boulevard.
Regardless, he said the cost is far better than the cost attached to the Concourse at Cape Coral, which is estimated to cost a total of $87 million.
He said he’d been working on an alternate plan since the first time he heard the proposal for the Concourse at Cape Coral.
“It is a potentially profound disaster … It boggles the mind, at least my level of comprehension,” Martin said of the Concourse.
McCormick, a close friend of Martin’s, praised the idea of the alternate swim center, and said she would lend her name to the facility, along with her four gold medals, which she won in 1952 and 1956.
Martin said he didn’t think know how much of an economic boost his alternate proposal would have, but said it would satisfy one of the Cape’s most glaring needs, a state-of-the-art facility for student swimmers to hone their skills.
“I think we cannot afford the proposal that’s on the table and I brought one forward that’s cheaper and could provide the same thing for student athletes,” Martin said.
Mayor John Sullivan addressed the alternate swim center proposal much like he approached the Concourse at Cape Coral, citing his concern the city just doesn’t have any money to put toward it.
“I think the swim center is a great idea. The question is can we afford it?” Sullivan asked. “I don’t want to end up with another Sun Splash … I don’t want to create another situation (like that), especially in this economic climate.”
City Council took no action on the proposal.