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CRA consultant: Move small projects to the forefront

By Staff | May 20, 2010

Bernard Zyscovich, whose firm was hired by the Community Redevelopment Agency to develop a 20-year vision plan thinks the district has “bones”, or the necessary grid work of streets to one day foster a revitalized downtown.
He said most community redevelopment agencies would would be jealous of the existing grid work, and it is one of the strengths the CRA will have to build upon.
“It’s very conducive to a vibrant, thriving district … you have what other people are trying to get, a town center,” Zyscovich said. “There are the grid work and patterns of an honest-to-god town center.”
Tuesday’s presentation represented Zyscovich and Associates’ preliminary findings.
The vision plan is due in mid November. The CRA entered into a contract with Zyscovich to design the vision plan on March 30 at a cost of $209,300.
Other than the grid work of streets, Zyscovich identified the Bimini Basin area, Club Square and the golf course as CRA assets.
He said, too, that for the district to thrive, it would have to focus on developing a lot of small projects, and stay away from bigger projects.
“Forget the mammoth thing that’s going to put Cape Coral on the map,” he said. “The one thing we can get to happen is 20 or 30 smaller things rather than one big thing.”
Zyscovich also said it would be necessary to rewrite the regulations that govern development, because the time it takes to get a project approved is simply too long.
“It takes a long time to get things done … these regulations has got to go,” he said.
CRA board member Dan Creighton said he wasn’t pleased, overall, with the findings, adding that job creation should be job one, and everything will then follow.
Board member Jack Evans said he was happy with the presentation.
“I like that the priority is not on large projects,” Evans said. “When we concentrate on small projects, the vitality of our community increases.”
Tom Tomich, owner of Parkway Antiques on Cape Coral Parkway, said he was pleased with the Zyscovich presentation.
Having seen two other vision plans come and go, he felt Tuesday’s presentation paid homage to the past while looking to the future.
“Of the three I’ve seen this is the most thoughtful,” Tomich, who also is a division fire chief with the city, said. “It’s looking at downtown in its totality … it seems they believe in the concept of taking what you have and make it better.”
Zyscovich is due to make a presentation to city council on Monday, June 7, at city hall.