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CRA approves five-year work plan

By Staff | Jun 5, 2019

Picture a 400-space parking garage in the heart of the South Cape where you can park your car and roam.

To do this, you cross Cape Coral Parkway via a pedestrian “flyover,” which can take you Southeast 47th Terrace or Bimini Basin.

The Community Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday gave its approval to a multi-million dollar Capital Work Plan, with the central pieces being a large parking garage and a walkover, both of which are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

City Manager John Szerlag, who also serves as the CRA director, said the idea is to connect the Southeast 47th Terrace area with the rest of the South Cape, and the “flyover” would provide a safe way for visitors to do so.

“As the area continues to grow, we have people crossing Cape Coral Parkway, but not at the traffic lights,” Szerlag said.

“This will provide us connectivity to the Bimini project between the water access and downtown,” said Cape Coral City Councilmem-ber John Gunter. “During design we hope it can be placed right so we can save money from having to build another one.”

The rest of this year will be devoted to doing a study on both projects to determine an appropriate location for each.

“This will also free up other areas for development because there is a parking problem right now and it will only get worse as development occurs,” Szerlag said. “This structure is especially for the CRA. Nobody will park here and go to the golf course 8 miles away.”

“We’re doing all this for positive growth in the area and we have to do the infrastructure first,” Gunter said. “Parking is a part of that.”

Design work is expected to happen in 2020 and actual construction and completion by the end of 2021.

The garage is expected to cost $10 million, with the crosswalk expected to cost another $4.5 million, to be paid for with CRA funds and a 10-year loan.

Szerlag said this plan is the realization of what he hoped for in 2012, when the CRA was unsustainable and its direction was absorbed into the Cape Coral City Council, which became the CRA commission until two years ago.

Among the other capital plans is the removal of three fire hydrants and placing of them behind the buildings on Club Square, allowing 47th Terrace to become more functional and to be able to hold parades, Bike Night and other events. The cost estimate is about $350,000.

As for public safety, Szerlag said he would like to have more policing in the area but, with the need for capital improvements and the $2 million cost to have two officers in the area around the clock, it was too much.

“We’re going to recommend the City Council approve two officers and recommend they serve in Zone A. The CRA will pay for all the overtime involved in security for extended bar hours,” Szerlag said.

The plan also calls for numerous lighting projects, expected to cost another $300,000. Areas included are throughout Cape Coral Parkway, 47th Terrace and Lafayette Street. Boat docking and sea walls are expected to cost about the same.

Another $2 million also is expected to complete the Southeast 47th Terrace Streetscape project to Del Prado Boulevard in the future.

Other future plans include building six roads from southeast 46th Lane and Southeast 47th Terrace, and five from Southeast 47th Terrace to Cape Coral Parkway at a combined cost of $15.8 million.