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City and kayak club to end lease arrangement

By Staff | Aug 22, 2019

It appears the South Florida Canoe & Kayak Club is going to have to look for new waters.

During Monday’s City Council regular meeting, the council will vote to end the lease agreement between the club and the city for the purpose of creating Lake Kennedy Park, with the expectation of razing the building and adding pickleball courts and/or concessions.

The South Florida Canoe Kayak Club was founded in 2012. It is a non-profit organization offering development and high-performance training in flat water sprint canoe and kayak racing, stand up paddle board racing, dragon boat racing and para canoe.

In 2013, the City Council entered into a lease agreement with the club for the use of the property at 418 SW 3rd Place, just north of the Sun Splash Family Waterpark, for the operation of a paddle sport training center.

The lease agreement began Jan. 1, 2014 and had been renewed after its original five-year lease expired. However, the agreement contained a provision for either party to terminate the lease at any time upon 30-day notice.

Melinda Mack, founder of SFCKC, said initially the power was going to be shut off in May, but they were able to keep the building through the summer as her rowers and paddlers trained for nationals.

“It’s difficult to move forward with plans and teams from all over the world coming to train in the winter of an Olympic year,” Mack said. “It’s tough to have everything in the air and not know what will happen.”

Over the years, SFCKC has hosted athletes worldwide to train here in Cape Coral. In the meantime, the club had some very big plans regarding the area, including a world-class training complex in 2015, and though the city council at the time loved the idea, the cost and complaints by boat-owning residents on the lake killed the project.

The SFCKC is expected to be out of the location by Sept. 30. The city is working with the club for an interim site in Sirenia Vista Park, with hopes of moving to a more permanent location at Tropicana Park.

Mack is hopeful the club will get a lease at Serenia Vista, but felt a little squeezed out shortly after the parks plan was released.

“When the GO Bond was initially putout and the initial plans set, it kept the club and launch. Now, it’s waterfront concessions,” Mack said. “We’re working with them and we should have known by now. We’ve had a lot of meetings without a whole lot of progress. That’s the frustrating part.”

Heather Mazurkiewicz, whose daughter is part of the club and competes nationally, said it’s disappointing to lose the building, but is confident something can be done.

“As a resident and a parent, I am confident the city council will do the right thing by us. We are going to exert ourselves more in the process and hopefully will work with staff,” Mazurkiewicz said.

This is on the consent agenda, meaning it will pass automatically unless it is pulled for discussion.