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Council OK’s military veteran tribute banners for along Cape Parkway

By Staff | Apr 28, 2015

Military veteran tribute banners will start showing up on city owned street light poles along Cape Coral Parkway about May 15 because, as expected, City Council unanimously approved the CRA’s proposal at Monday’s meeting.

The program was first brought to light by the Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library founder Ralph Santillo about six months ago, an idea that earned immediate support from those on council, especially member Rana Erbrick, the chair of the CRA Commission, who guided the program through the CRA process to bring it to council for final approval.

The two-sided banners will be 60 inches by 30 inches with the name and photo of a local veteran as well as the name of the sponsor. The museum has more than 35 banners sponsored and ready to go on poles once the brackets are delivered and installed by the city.

The veterans group is supplying the brackets ($49 each) for 174 city and LCEC owned light poles along the parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to Palm Tree Boulevard. A veteran banner sponsorship for a family or individual costs $275 or $350 for business or corporate sponsors. The banners will be displayed for a maximum of 13 weeks before new banners are rotated in their place.

Once the banners come down, the sponsor will be allowed to keep it if they so desire. Of course, the same or a different sponsor can purchase another sponsorship for the same veteran for another 13 weeks.

As a companion to the military banners, council also approved a banner program available to the city, non-profit and not-for-profit organizations to hang banners on available poles promoting upcoming events taking place in the South Cape district. The city is doing that hoping to avoid future discussions with various organizations seeking the same benefit as the veterans banner program.

In other business before council Monday night, a $250,000 equipment purchase was approved for the city’s Emergency Operations Center. The funds come from Lee County’s All Hazards Fund to purchase audio/visual displays, hardware and software communication equipment.

The Emergency Operations Center was built in 2000 and the original communications technology has been updated on a patchwork basis over the years, but Fire Chief Donald Cochran brought the request to council for approval to spend the funds. The existing analog equipment is outdated and does not interface with new technology. With council’s approval, the upgrades will be installed in July in time for the annual hurricane season in Southwest Florida.

Council also approved rezoning 25 residential parcels on the north side of Pine Island Road just west of the Golden Corral to a corridor zoning. The owner of the 25 parcels also owns the adjoining corridor zoned property to the south that fronts on Pine Island Road, creating a total 10-plus acre tract for potential commercial development.

The 25 parcels already were surrounded on three sides by corridor property. The parcels line both sides of N0rtheast 4th Street, but owners did not ask the city to vacate the street right-of-way at this time. Owners wanted to wait until a specific project is proposed before making such a request.

Council also supported City Manager John Szerlag’s request to hire consulting firm Burton & Associates to analyze city revenue diversification for the 2016 fiscal year budget because the Florida State Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the Fire Service Assessment methodology lawsuit appeal. Burton will be paid $29,912 to come up with an alternate sustainable financial picture for the next budget to maintain an acceptable level of service and funding. The 2016 budget cycle would be the third for the city without the Fire Service Assessment funds being available.

The next city council meeting is Monday at City Hall with a workshop session slated for next Wednesday at the Nicholas Annex.