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South Cape streetscape project to top CRA agenda

By Staff | Apr 21, 2016

The South Cape streetscape project and a discussion of whether to hire a CRA executive director or a management firm are topics up for discussion on Tuesday at a joint meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency Commissioners and the South Cape CRA Advisory Board.

The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Chester Street Resource Center, where new appointments to the advisory board and the various annual special events sponsorship grants will be approved.

A light agenda awaits City Council for Monday’s regular meeting at City Hall.

Two resolutions are on the consent agenda for approval. One concerns a contract for banking and merchant services in the finance department at a cost for $296,686 for the first year and annual recurring charges of $180,566 for renewals.

The second seeks approval of the purchase of lots on Wilmington Parkway for the Festival Park project at a cost of $9,400.

A discussion on ending the City Council members’ dual role as CRA commissioners began more than a year ago. They brought in a private management firm for a presentation to gain a better understanding of the benefits of a privately managed CRA as opposed to turning the duties over to a citizen board and an executive director.

Council did away with the citizen board and executive director leadership some three years ago when the city, and the CRA, fell on hard times financially. Now that the CRA has regained its footing, members want to remove CRA duties from their busy schedule.

Commissioner Rana Erbrick, the CRA chair at the time, said her duties added 30 meetings to her agenda during the year. While she was not complaining about the workload, she indicated her preference is to see the hiring of a dedicated executive director to establish a working relationship with city staff.

Commissioners Jim Burch and Richard Leon supported the independent citizen board at the time especially with the addition of a second Mid-Cape CRA district under consideration.

City staff is seeking funding to move ahead with design and construction of streetscape improvements along Southeast 47th Terrace between Del Prado Boulevard and Coronado Parkway. Estimated costs of the improvements for the full length of 47th Terrace is $5.6 million in addition to utility improvement estimated at $1.9 million.

Improvements include sidewalk pavers, drainage, street lighting, landscaping and traffic calming “bulb-outs.”

CRA is being asked to approve sponsorship grants for 13 events to be held in South Cape in 2017. Five of those are Cape Coral Parks & Recreation events, such as Bike Night, Taste of the Cape and Red, White & Boom.

Cape Coral Rotary has two events on the list and Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral organizes four events, including Farmer’s Market and Holiday Festival of Lights.

New to the list for 2017 are a Freedom 5K Run, Relay for Life and Blind Feet Shopping in the Street.

CRA is expected to approve total funding for the 13 events at $36,500, or $1,500 more than last year.