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City hires designer for neighborhood parks

By Staff | Jun 18, 2019

The city of Cape Coral will spend $3 million to design seven new neighborhood parks and provide for improvements in another 10, kicking off the first phase of its $60 million Parks Master Plan.

Cape Coral City Council held a special meeting before its scheduled workshop meeting Monday, taking less than 30 minutes to approve a contract with AECOM Technical Services for a not-to-exceed amount of $2,929,890 with a 5 percent contingency.

On April 15, the Council approved AECOM as the top-ranked firm for the neighborhood parks design by resolution.

Joseph Webb, AECOM’s director of park planning, said he is very happy to receive the contract to design and manage the construction on one of the biggest projects the city has undertaken.

“I’d like to think they made a good choice in selecting us, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” Webb said.

AECOM will perform the master planning, public engagement, design and permitting, bidding and be the engineer of record. The firm will soon take input from residents nearby to see what they want in a park, whether it be pickleball courts or bocce courts.

AECOM will add shade structures to bleachers at the existing parks, especially those with athletic fields, but the primary focus will be the seven new neighborhood parks, Webb said.

“We have a very fast timeline. We’re going to go out and meet with the people, do surveying, ecological assessment, utilities connections; there’s a lot of homework to do,” Webb said. “Each of these parks are unique with special characteristics. We showed (in illustrations in the Master Parks Plan) what could go there. Now, we need to figure out what should go there.”

Master planning and engagement on the parks will continue until Oct. 1, said Michael Ilczyszyn, senior manager with Public Works. The concept they come up with will then be brought to Council for approval.

The development of the parks design concept will follow until around Oct. 23, 2020.

The parks are expected to be constructed and completed by the end of 2021.

The seven new neighborhood parks will be Crystal Lake Park, Cultural Park, Gator Circle Park, Lake Meade Park, Oasis Woods Park, Sands Park and Tropicana Park.

Neighbors who live near the parks had lots of questions during public input Monday, particularly the preliminary plans for a parking lot and restroom at Crystal Lake Park near one home and the lack of bike racks and burrowing owl protection at Sands Park.

Mayor Joe Coviello told them that the neighbors would have an opportunity to provide input and that the plans can easily change. City Manager John Szerlag had put up a concept for the park to show what could go there instead of a blank sheet.

The agreement for the community parks will be brought forward at the next city council meeting on July 22 for approval.

Kimley-Horn and Associates has been ranked the top firm for the community parks.

Ilczyszyn said two firms will be used for the neighborhood and community parks, which will progress simultaneously to meet the aggressive deadline set by the city.

Each component has been budgeted at $25 million, with the remained of the $60 million budget going to improvements at the Cape Coral Yacht Club as part of the General Obligation Bond financing approved by voters in a referendum last November.