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Senior housing proposal gets high marks

By Staff | Apr 25, 2017

A local church wants to make sure older residents no longer have to decide between, food, medicine or an affordable place to live, and its plan drew rave reviews from Cape Coral City Council on Monday.

Faith Presbyterian Church addressed the elected board during its workshop meeting about a proposed development for senior citizen affordable housing to be tentatively located downtown where the current military museum sits.

Pastor Tim Halverson was joined by former South Cape Community Redevelopment Agency president John Jacobsen, who said more than 20,000 households (or 31.7 percent) qualify for affordable housing in Cape Coral.

But the need is especially acute for seniors, where that need has reached a crisis point, Halverson said.

The site would include an assemblage of space that allows for real development, such as housing, restaurants, green space, etc Area businesses, including the military museum, would not be forced out, and there could be an alternative site where such housing could be built.

At worst, they would be relocated near the proposed housing site, which would be mixed use, with businesses on the ground floor and housing on the remaining three or four floors.

For veterans who use the museum to get much needed services such as a meal, they would get affordable, attractive housing in a new facility, and a partnership would be formed to determine how to best fit their needs.

The church intends to apply for low income housing tax credits for a mixed-use development through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

The city would have to buy into the tax credits, but at a minimal cost.

Council members praised the concept, calling it a win/win for everyone involved, even if there might be inconvenience to some in the short term.

“I can’t imagine anyone not wanting this. This will beautify the CRA district. I’m proud this church has stepped up to help those in need,” Councilmember Marilyn Stout said.

“I hope we can get together with the veterans because they can be well-served. I think we can do this and everyone will come out a winner,” said Councilmember Jim Burch.

Councilmember Rana Erbrick was also excited, saying there are so many possibilities, especially with a vacant lot nearby and the number of businesses in the area that stand to benefit.

“I’m very excited about what they’re bringing forward. If we could get that type of a project on that block and get those businesses there to jump in and take some of that frontage along Cape Coral Parkway, with new businesses and landscaping, what a win that would be,” Erbrick said.