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Council OKs lightning detection systems for parks; luxury RV resort

By Staff | Oct 7, 2015

City Council approved two major projects by unanimous vote at Monday night’s meeting at City Hall, one dealing with public safety and the other clearing the way for a recreational vehicle resort development in far Northwest Cape Coral.

Seventeen city parks will be outfitted with lightning detection systems by the end of the year at a cost of just over $118,500. City Parks & Recreation Director Steve Pohlman requested the purchase of WeatherBug systems made by Earth Networks, which provides the same systems used at Lee County parks and the Lee County School District. A main selling point for the system is the compatibility with those operating in the county.

The system utilizes sensors in real time with both an air horn warning, when lightning is within 10 miles of the detector, and a clock counting the time until it is safe to resume activities. The software also allows smartphone access.

The WeatherBug system will cost the city $12,000 a year in maintenance costs after the first year of installation.

Parks scheduled to receive the lightning system include Cape Coral Sports Complex, Storms Football Complex, Caloosa Football Complex, youth baseball and recreational league ball parks, Coral Oaks Golf Course, Jaycee and Four Freedoms parks as well as Sun Splash Family Waterpark.

Resort at Tranquility Lake

An upscale luxury recreational vehicle resort park that has been talked about for a number of years cleared its final hurdle to become a reality with council’s blessing Monday night.

The Resort at Tranquility Lake, when completed, is a 188-acre development on a tract of land at the southwest intersection of Durden Parkway and Burnt Store Road. The development was unanimously approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission last month.

The project sparked council approval to negotiate an interlocal agreement with Charlotte County to provide water, sewer and irrigation utilities to the site. Developers will be responsible for the design and construction of the internal and external utility lines connecting to Charlotte County services about a mile away and, eventually, Cape Coral utilities when available.

The resort will feature 265 RV sites with cabins, most of which front on the 98-acre lake. The complex will include nearly two acres for commercial development plus four structures for administrative offices, maintenance and a clubhouse. The project will be built in six phases. The first phase could break ground sometime in 2016.

Northwest Neighborhood Association (NWNA) president Dennis Catalano told council, “We are here to support the project. All 800 of our members are on board and have had a voice in this project.”

Avalon Engineering president Tom Giles called the project “a jewel” for the city much like Cape Harbour and Tarpon Point developments.

“I’m very confident looking at the buffers and landscaping planned,” said Councilmember Jim Burch. “My only concern beyond the RV thing is, can the developer deliver the infrastructure? I don’t want a development of this size to become a ghost town.”

Burch was reassured by staff that safeguards are built into the development project and other environmental concerns about wildlife habitat were laid to rest as well.

Commercial outlets associated with the project include retail stores, rental shops, restaurants, a bait shop, veterinarian office and kennel.

“I am glad we finally have come to this point,” said Councilmember Rick Williams, who represents the Northwest district. “I think we will have something really special up there.”

Update on city-owned properties

Council members also were given an informational update by Assistant City Manager Mike Ilczyszyn on activity for the 491 land parcels the city purchased for $13 million in 2012. The controversial purchase was made to help the city identify parcels it would need for such things as future lift stations with the utility expansion project, boat ramps, parks, public safety facilities, pumping stations, well sites, retention ponds and a reservoir.

Staff has worked with other large landowners in the city, such as Deltona Corporation and Landmark Assets, to identify parcels the city will keep and which ones to market or trade.

Last December the city traded one of its parcels valued at $230,000 for 31 parcels from Deltona worth $256,800, and is close to closing a similar deal with Landmark. Ilczyszyn said the city is combining more desirable parcels, such as the Seven Islands and around Crystal Lake, to make them more attractive for development.

Council requested an annual update on the real estate transactions for all city-owned property.

In observance of Columbus Day, there is no council meeting next Monday. Council resumes its regular meeting schedule the following week on Oct. 19.