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Proposal for beach in Northwest Cape altered

By Staff | Aug 18, 2015

There won’t be a new public beach located in Northwest Cape after all.

Proposals have come and gone in the past, but the most recent research into the feasibility by Councilmember Richard Leon and city staff recommended at Monday’s City Council meeting that the plan be dropped.

“I took a field trip with staff to the area where we discussed areas of concern,” Leon said. “A beach could be built there, but the problem is the money.”

Instead, focus will shift from that coastal city property wedged between two parcels owned by the state of Florida to the nearby Crystal Lake area.

Leon suggested developing a large tract of city property around the lake and create a freshwater beach area, park and other amenities. The land belongs to the city’s Utilities Department, so the city would have to purchase the acreage and make it part of the Parks & Recreation Department’s master plan.

To help facilitate the project, Leon also suggested council direct staff to seek a possible land swap with the state, trading the 19-acre triangular shaped coastal property for a 19-acre tract of state owned land adjacent to the city’s Crystal Lake property. Leon said the state Department of Environmental Protection gave him a positive reaction on the swap during his research.

“The DEP loves the idea,” said Leon.

Councilmember Jim Burch offered, “Of course the DEP would love the idea. Why wouldn’t they. It would give them control over the entire coastline there.”

Councilmember Rana Erbrick was the most optimistic for the idea.

“I want it on the parks list,” she said. “It should be on the list. I saw the benefit in this parcel when we bought it. This was part of the Thieman purchase and one of the reasons I agreed to that purchase was this parcel.””

Ultimately, council agreed to move forward through Parks & Recreation contacting the state regarding the possibility of a swap.

Also, council approved a resolution to officially become part of the state’s “Complete Streets” program. which implements plans to create a safe environment for all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians using city roadways. Cape Coral already follows many of the design standards associated with the program which Lee County also has adopted and implemented.

The city has worked in recent years with Cape Coral Bike-Ped to create 90 miles of cycling routes, shared roadways, pathways and sidewalks following the policy.

“This is just another step, an important step, to make it a safer community and it’s a chance to take the lead in Southwest Florida,” said former state representative Gary Aubuchon.

The resolution passed unanimously.