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Parkway re-landscaping project moves forward

By Staff | Feb 19, 2016

Cape Coral Parkway’s median landscaping will be getting a facelift after the Cape Coral City Council, sitting as the South Cape Community Redevelopment Agency Board of Commissioners, approved the project going forward.

The 6-2 approval vote at Tuesday night’s meeting – with commissioners Rick Williams and Marilyn Stout casting the dissenting votes – includes landscape enhancements and undergrounding of electrical service lines in the median strip from Del Prado Boulevard to Coronado Boulevard. The cost for the landscape enhancements is estimated at $185,000 while the undergrounding of the lighting component is estimated at $75,000.

Staff is researching pricing of adding LED lighting to the overall project.

The expenditures will come from CRA funds except for the removal of eight existing large canopy trees that are diseased or damaged or compromising the electrical lines and roadway pavement.

Commissioner Marni Sawicki suggested that since the tree removal is not part of the enhancements that city funds will be used for the removal. A certified arborist was hired to assess and identify the trees that need to be removed.

“I voted against it only because of the LED lighting part of it,” said Williams. “I figure over the years it would begin to look bad if it wasn’t maintained well. Otherwise I’m fine with the project.”

The trees that are removed will be replaced with palm trees. The other enhancements are expected to improve visibility for local businesses and contribute to improved public safety.

Struggling plants will be replaced and color introduced through the use of accent plants and trees and the use of ground cover material and shrubbery.

“I hate to see the shade trees go, but they will be replaced with good solid palms if it’s done right,” said Williams.

Commissioners also discussed the Southeast 47th Terrace streetscaping proposal, briefly, but tabled the discussion to a later meeting due to the length of the meeting.

“The meeting already was more than 3- 1/2 hours and everyone wanted to get out of there,” said Williams. “It doesn’t make sense to rush through it, so we just put off the discussion.”

The streetscaping project, also from Del Prado to Coronado, is estimated to be more than a $5 million project if done all at once. Commissioners also are interested in deciding whether to hire a CRA director to spearhead all future projects instead of hiring a redevelopment firm to lead the CRA.