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Kayak Club update presented

By Staff | Dec 11, 2014

Neighboring homeowners and interested residents got an update Thursday night on a proposed kayak training facility proponents say will bring millions of dollars in benefits to the city of Cape Coral.

The leadership team proposing to build the megasporting complex in the southwest Cape near Sun Splash Family Waterpark presented plans and timeframes for the proposed $22.5 million complex, also addressing some concerns from neighbors in the canal-front neighborhood off Santa Barbara Boulevard.

That team included representatives with the South Florida Canoe and Kayak Club, which shared details and the planned construction process for city park land covering some 12 acres fronting the freshwater Lake Kennedy.

In an ideal world of public acceptance and accommodating zoning changes, a completed and privately funded sporting complex and training facility for kids and Olympic caliber athletes would open in January 2016, with ground-breaking in spring 2015, representatives said during the presentation in council chambers.

Some were not convinced.

“The (project) scope is just too much,” said Ron York, a rental landlord with homes next to the proposed project. “It’s a pristine body of water whose value and the neighborhood’s value will be destroyed.”

Directors of the nonprofit Kayak Club proposing the complex said, though, the project would hugely benefit the city, surrounding neighborhoods, even the state of Florida. Olympic caliber athletes, trainers, international followers of watersports and fans would be attracted to the region, driving the economy and bringing fresh growth and interest to the Cape, said Ian Mack, the Kayak Club’s operations director.

Mack said the proposal, if accepted in its entirety, would include a 280-bed complex, topflight training in paddle and watersports, a boathouse and even a zipline and rope course for corporate outings and endurance training. The athletic suites facility also would be able to host athletes for local sporting events including track, soccer and baseball.

The project would be funded privately, with fees and other usage funding to pay the 25-year debt of the project, he said, adding the city would assume ownership at the payoff.

“We’re very excited for the opportunity,” said Mack.

Joe Mazurkewicz, a former Cape mayor and consultant representing the Kayak Club, said movement on the project involves a number of steps, including bidding out counter proposals, at least three public hearings and several votes in favor of the project by the city council. Each step handled with alacrity would push the project finish date to 2016, in time for trials for summer Olympics, he said.

“I’m letting you know that’s the timeframe we’re shooting for,” he told those in attendance.