Cape Coral Civic Association celebrates half century
By TIFFANY REPECKI
“Be Aware! Be Alert! Be Informed!”
The Cape Coral Civic Association has maintained that motto for 50 years, helping to shape the city and educating citizens on issues that affect them.
Founded on March 1, 1962, the non-profit non-partisan organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary this weekend with a gala and a special guest speaker, Rep. Gary Aubuchon, who will talk about the history of the Cape.
The first board of directors was elected on April 2, 1962.
“I think our role will stay the same,” President Lyndia Bradley said of the association’s future. “I think civic will always have the same goals.”
The group, however, knows that moving into the future means change.
“I’d like to see more young people come in because I think the next generation is important,” she said, adding that the 30-40 age group is the target. “It’s important that they stay involved with their government.”
With about 155 current members, outreach efforts are ongoing.
“We’re not a total retirement area anymore,” Bradley said. “We want to stay active not only with political issues, but with what’s going on in our community – I’m looking to get the issues that affect those age groups.”
The group plans to update its website, www.capecoralcivicassocation.org, and it has created a Facebook page to appeal to the more tech-savvy crowd.
“We’re going to give them a voice somewhere,” she said.
In the past five decades, the Cape Coral Civic Association has had a hand in everything from pushing for the city’s incorporation, to setting up candidate forums where locals can learn about those running, minus the party politics.
“They started out like a taxpayers association because there was no city,” Bradley said. “The taxpayers association had to deal with the county.”
It evolved into a civic group to garner more respect from the county.
“One of the things they dealt with was getting the city incorporated,” she said. “They were instrumental in bringing the Cape Coral Bridge.”
Once the city was incorporated, the organization became more a government watchdog, while continuing to educate residents on the important issues.
“They fought for issues and left the government, basically, up to the elected officials,” Bradley said.
Civic has dissected the utilities expansion program, prevented a juvenile “tent city” from going up in Eco Park and united the city’s homeowners’ associations to present a single front when addressing the Cape council.
“Civic doesn’t come before council as civic. We encourage different voices,” she said, adding that they only take a stand on an issue with a majority.
Conservation 20/20 and dredging have also been tackled by the association.
“I think today that we’re looking at and asking our members, what issue are you looking at civic to have at our meeting,” Bradley said.
Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of every month, except for June, July and December, from 7-9 p.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Open to the public, the meetings each have a topic with a speaker or speakers planned.
The April topic is 20/20, and May’s topic is city employee pensions.
The cost for an annual membership is $20, and it covers the whole family.
“We’ve kept it reasonable so more people can come out and join,” she said.
A 18-year member and serving her second term as president, Bradley and her husband learned of civic at a candidate forum. They learned civic covered all points of an issue and enabled people to form their own educated opinion.
“The issues that came up, we could hear both sides,” she said.
“That’s how we educated ourself on Cape Coral,” Bradley said.
For more information about the Cape Coral Civic Association, call 540-4002, e-mail email@example.com
or visit: www.capecoralcivicassocation.org .