King: City striving to shift Cape’s ‘business culture’
Gary King’s message to the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday was that the city was doing everything in its power to make Cape Coral more business friendly.
He informed Chamber members during their monthly luncheon that Cape Coral was working toward a “synergy” and “incubation model” to bring more business to the area.
“We’re trying to shift the city’s business culture, trying to find out what it takes to get it done,” King told the crowd.
Along with the proposed customized business incentive funding program eyed for “Patriot Plaza”, King cited the city’s customer advocacy program in Department of Community Development, the widening of Pine Island Road and a “larger presence” in the CRA as examples of how his office is trying to boost economic growth.
He also said several “very big players” are interested in operating businesses in Cape Coral, but confidentiality agreements prevented him from naming those companies.
He said the city’s “business” is now customer service, and pleaded with Chamber members to help make that customer service model a reality.
“We believe the economic growth and development of our city will come from people who are already here,” King said.
Chamber President Mike Quaintance said the city had “moderately” reached out to the Chamber for its input, but they were pleased with the results they’ve achieved thus far.
Hearing positive feedback from the community and their members, Quaintance said it would be vital for the city to continue to reach out to the local business community as city officials move forward with their initiatives.
He cited improvements with DCD as especially important.
“It started with Carl Schwing when he was city manager, but the new city manager and the city council have really kept up with the process,” Quaintance said.
Joe Mazurkiewicz said the city and Council for Progress were planning a joint economic development summit in March, where the community will be invited to “put some meat on the bones” of a plan that was kickstarted when King visited the Council for Progress meeting in December.
“The city was very excited to work on the plan with us,” Mazurkiewicz said.
King also cited the imminent arrival of the new Financial Services Director Victoria Bateman on Jan. 31 as a positive step for the city.
Bateman comes from a federal government finance background.
He also plugged his new website, saying it was only intended to provide information, and “when the media doesn’t get it right”, to correct them.