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CRA Vision Plan moves into phase two

By Staff | Nov 17, 2010

With the first phase of the new CRA Vision Plan complete, the board will now move to phase two, which includes a land use and development regulation analysis conducted by Zyscovich Architects, the Miami-based firm that designed the vision plan.
The second phase will cost $66,420.
Bernard Zyscovich and his team presented the final vision plan to the CRA board Tuesday at City Hall.
Like the partial plan presented previously to the CRA board, Zyscovich’s “vision” of downtown Cape Coral includes breaking the CRA into several districts, focusing on entertainment, green space and even an educational or health component somewhere down the line.
The purpose of focusing on these small districts not only plays to the CRA’s existing strengths, Zyscovich said, but also provides realistic, short-term goals, some of which are readily affordable.
“This is a very broad and far reaching plan but there are a number of initial things that can be done,” Zyscovich said.
An example of this philosophy is turning Big John’s and Southeast 47th Terrace into a pedestrian friendly entertainment zone, that would play host to regular events like performances and open air markets.
Zyscovich also envisions turning Club Square into the home of those future educational or health components, and creating a “greenway” along Miramar Street, as well as a “bicycle network” throughout the CRA.
“What we’re looking to accomplish is to focus on what’s attainable … that’s the nature of these ideas,” Zyscovich added. “We’re talking about the size of projects that are viable with the context of what we’re talking about.”
Andrew Gray, owner of Rack ’em Billiards along Southeast 47th Terrace, said he is happy with what he saw in the vision plan.
Having owned Rack ’em Billiards since 1997, Gray said he’s seen several vision plans come and go within the CRA, none of which he found viable or realistic.
All Gray wants is a viable downtown, and a sensible approach to create that viability.
“I like the fact that it’s a lot of small things and not all big plans and dreams,” Gray said. “I think the simplicity is good. There seemed to be a sense of reality to it.”
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Steven Cristaldi said Cape Coral needs to realize the city is “not Naples” and the CRA is “not Fifth Avenue.” The Vision Plan did a good job of staying away from these lofty goals, Cristaldi said.
“This looks much more realistic, it’s a do-able project,” Cristaldi added.
Karen Scarbrough, who’s owned the Twisted Conch on Southeast 47th Terrace for two years, said she was happy with the plan, but disappointed the “entertainment district” stretched beyond Big John’s.
“I’m excited about the plan but where the Twisted Conch is, I’m feeling left out,” she said. “The proposed entertainment district not by us at all.”
Scarbrough said she is more excited about the prospects of Robbie Lee’s Village Square project, which would be located almost directly across from the Twisted Conch.
“Village Square is the big thing for me that’s going to enhance the area. I wish they had talked about that tonight but they didn’t,” Scarbrough said.
CRA Chairman Don Heisler was quick to point out that Tuesday’s presentation was simply one piece of a much larger puzzle.
“What we’re seeing tonight is not the end, its just the beginning,” Heisler said.