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Canal connection project gains some state-level support

By Staff | Sep 22, 2011

Rep. Gary Aubuchon’s office is taking an interest in connecting the Rubican Canal to the Bimini Basin in downtown Cape Coral, a project identified in the Community Redevelopment Agency’s newly designed vision plan.

One of the major technical hurdles is deciding the best method in which to take the canal across Cape Coral Parkway.

A tunnel, with a price tag of more than $40 million, was deemed too costly but several bridge options remain.

It’s all been research and conversation up to this point, but even if there were a plan or design on the table, funding for the project remains unavailable, if not mysterious.

“We have the goal, we have the foundation, but we don’t have the funding,” said Matt Vissaggio, local Aubuchon aide. “There are some things we need to be mindful of, one of which is the financial cost to the citizens.”

Vissaggio said Aubuchon’s office wants to be part of the strategic planning for the project, but added there would likely be little or no funding on the state level.

“I don’t think that right now you can look at the State of Florida as being an investor in this plan,” he said.

The Community Redevelopment Agency unanimously agreed to keep moving forward with the project.

“I’ve been pushing for this for two years,” said board member Jim Martin. “We need to figure out how to get this done.”

Marty McClain, city council liaison to the CRA board, said it was important to put together a plan the public can buy into.

Making the end goal, and the design plan, very clear to residents will be key in getting them to understand how the project will benefit downtown. McClain also thought the bridge option may be the best.

“From a cost standpoint and getting people to buy in, the bridge is the most viable,” McClain said.