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$13 million improvement plan up for vote

By Staff | Dec 7, 2017

A multi-million improvement plan for Southeast 47th Terrace is facing a pair of public meetings Monday.

The $13 million streetscape project set to begin formal construction will be discussed by the Cape Coral City Council sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency board of commissioners and then again at the regular Cape Coral City Council meeting.

The back-to-back session are set for 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively in Council Chambers, with the second meeting also serving as the final City Council meeting of 2017.

Council acting first as the CRA board will have to vote to amend the Interlocal Agreement between the city and the CRA on the project which would revamp Southeast 47th Terrace between Coronado Parkway and Southeast 15th Avenue, as well as approve the construction with Chris-Tel Company of Southwest Florida.

The streetscape plans have been finalized, the permits secured but the discussions are not expected to be one-sided for approval.

One affected property owner said he expects some South Cape business owners to raise their voices concerning parking issues, a primary sticking point at early discussions.

While the project is expected to add a total 41 parking spaces by increasing space in Club Square, the parking controversy that has shadowed the project for months hasn’t been resolved, according to Elmer Tabor, who owns the Big John’s Town Center.

Tabor said he expects people to show up and be heard regarding math that doesn’t seem to add up for them.

“At the end of the day, the city will be adding 40 spots. The problem is nobody will want to walk from Club Square to Fish Tale’s for fish,” Tabor said. “Engineers work too much on numbers and don’t add practicality or common sense to the equation. That doesn’t help Fish Tale’s five blocks away.”

One compromise brought up was reserving four spaces for Merrick Seafood and the Fish Tale Grill in the Big John lot, a proposal Tabor said made him go berserk.

For him, labeling spots in the lot was a non-starter.

“Police would be needed to monitor the lot, and it creates a problem for the Farmer’s Market and special events,” Tabor said.

Much of the discussion is expected to regard the project schedule, cost breakdown, construction sequence, and traffic.

Councilmember Jennifer Nelson said she believes the streetscaping will be a welcome addition to the downtown area.

“We have to do something to beautify the area. We’re so far down the road on this. I would hate to pull the plug on something we’ve brought to fruition,” Nelson said.

If approved, construction is set to begin in January, with the finished product expected by the end of 2018.

In other business Monday, City Council will be asked to authorize the issuance of $275 million in Water and Sewer Refunding Revenue Bonds as a way to achieve debt service savings, and fill two positions on the Planning & Zoning Commission.