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Cape City Council reconsiders SUN Trail plan

By Staff | Jun 18, 2019

The Cape Coral City Council’s concerns regarding a state-funded trail that will cut through a residential area on Kismet Parkway were addressed at Monday’s workshop meeting at City Hall.

The $12 million SUN Trail through Cape Coral, which would be fully funded through state grants, is back in line to be approved by City Council with passage now expected.

It looked much shakier last month after several council members expressed concern over the loss of driveway length for those who live along the SUN Trail’s planned 6.5-mile path as it would shave parkable driveway space by using the rights-of-way between the affected properties and roadways.

Percides Zambrano, Public Works planning manager, warned that if the city dropped the project it could result in the city being negatively impacted in obtaining future grants. She also said the SUN Trail would provide a signature destination for recreational activity in the north Cape.

As a compromise, the city agreed to install concrete “sidepads” for the 16 existing homes impacted by the trail. The $50,000 and $100,000 cost would be funded with transportation dollars via the gas tax.

To accommodate future construction, the rear setbacks would be allowed closer to the rear of the properties to allow for longer driveways in the front.

A proposal to narrow the medians to less than the dimensions shown would eliminate future capacity roadway improvements, Zambrano said.

Councilmember Jennifer Nelson, who has experience with grant money, said the $12 million grant (which is 30 percent of statewide funding available for regional trials) was quite an achievement and agreed with Zambrano on the consequences of killing the trail after the money had been earmarked.

“We can’t turn down a project of this magnitude. That’s crazy. It’s a great opportunity for the city in terms of ecotourism,” Nelson said. “When I ran for office, we heard from so many people about quality of life and this is a great opportunity.”

Councilmember John Gunter said the concerns he had for the project had been settled and would support the project.

Councilmember David Stokes needed a little more convincing as he thought there was a lack of communication with homeowners in the path, but eventually said that as long as there was more public information, he would support it.

The trail will be on the north side of Van Buren Parkway from Burnt Store Road to El Dorado Boulevard; on the west side of El Dorado Boulevard from Van Buren to Kismet parkways; and on the north side of Kismet Parkway from El Dorado to Del Prado boulevards.

The construction contract for Phase 1 is set to be awarded by December, with Phase 2 being awarded after the completion of the North 1 Utilities Expansion Project, sometime in 2022.