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City to hold Sun Splash events for teens

By Staff | Apr 10, 2015

In light of the city’s decision to cancel future “Splash” events scheduled by promoter Dwayne “Sugar” Williams at Cape Coral’s Sun Splash Family Waterpark, the Parks & Recreation Department special events team will get to work on organizing and staging similar entertainment events for teens.

“We recognize the need for more entertainment options for our young residents and intend on moving forward with planning our own events,” City Manager John Szerlag said in a prepared statement. “The city will ensure that adequate security and supervision is provided for the upcoming city-sponsored teen events.”

The city plans to target specific age groups for separate events for high school students and middle school students this summer.

City Council members had indicated the private party was a good idea and showed a desire to continue the events as scheduled as long as more security and supervision was in place to control the scene.

The decision to cancel Williams’ events, though, came Wednesday at a special meeting between the promoters and city staffers to discuss more stringent security and supervision that critics say was lacking at the recent “Splash” event at the waterpark that drew middle and high school age teens beyond the capacity of the park. There were two reports of loud music and of a number of teens scaling the fence to get in once park capacity was reached.

Williams, owner/general manager of SUGA104.5 FM radio, met with about 20 city officials Wednesday and does not agree with either claims that the party presented problems or the cancelation.

He also disputes a claim in the city’s official press release canceling his events that indicated he would not be able to meet requirements for more stringent oversight.

“I was willing to add more security, no problem,” said Williams. “Add more staff, no problem. They did not want to hear that. The city chose not to. They wanted me to take Southwest Florida off the event and make it Cape Coral. Why would I do that? I like all people. This is what we do, we won’t stop. We promote events all over everywhere. There is no evidence of any alleged inappropriate behavior.”

There were no injuries reported nor were there any arrests.

City Parks &?Recreation Director Steve Pohlman did not return calls for comment on the meeting and the reasons for the decision before press time.

Councilman Rick Williams previously said there was a cost for cleaning up the park afterward, which was part of the $8,000 rental fee paid by the promoters.

“Nobody got hurt. There were no arrests. It just turned into something that shouldn’t have happened,” Rick Williams said.

Upcoming council agenda:

At Monday’s regular City Council meeting, council members are expected to vote on the resolution that would provide an adjustment of pay ranges for regular non-bargaining full-time positions plus a 5 percent pay increase for those employees. The controversial resolution has been discussed before in a regular council meeting as well as at a special workshop session.

Council also will reconvene its final public hearing on the resolution to grant a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Charlene Canfield-Clancy to operate one limousine or taxi vehicle in Cape Coral. Canfield-Clancy wants to serve elderly residents who no longer drive a car, but still need transportation to doctor’s appointments and other destinations for a nominal fee.

At last week’s session, some on council became concerned about insurance regulations in the city’s taxi ordinance and any legal liability risk for the city by granting the permit. The delay gave staff time to research those issues and report back to council at the next meeting.

Szerlag will bring council up to date on his performance review of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

Council also will be asked to approve a resolution supporting the state’s acquisition of lands south of Lake Okeechobee to help reduce damaging freshwater flows down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries by urging the state to exercise its option to purchase 46,800 acres for construction of the EAA Reservoir.

Council’s regular meetings at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays in Council Chambers.