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Cape to hold community parks input sessions

By Staff | Oct 3, 2019

In September, the city of Cape Coral held public workshops to take input on seven neighborhood parks throughout the city. Now, they’re looking for input on four community parks slated for upgrades and development, thanks to the voter-approved $60 million Parks GO Bond.

The newest set of meetings will all take place at the Cape Coral Yacht Club from 6-8 p.m. This time around, the city will take input on Lake Kennedy Racquet Center (Oct. 10 & Nov. 12), Festival Park (Oct. 9 & Nov. 14), Yellow Fever Creek Preserve (Oct. 9 & Nov. 14) and the Yacht Club Community Park (Oct. 10 & Dec. 3).

City officials have touted that these parks are for the community and residents of Cape Coral — they want to hear what you want.

“These parks are for the people,” said Keith Locklin, city recreation superintendent. “Our designers will be there taking critiques and comments. We want to know what makes our residents happy.”

Details of parks up for discussion include:

n Lake Kennedy Racquet Center — West Lake Kennedy Drive. Budget: $5 million phase 1, additional $1.4 million for phase 2 (tournament configuration, boardwalk part 2 and soft costs). Anticipated opening: 2021.

Prospective amenities/concepts include: tennis and pickleball courts, covered championship court, boardwalk, kayak/canoe launch, walking and multi-use paths, concessions/cafe, outdoor dining seating.

n Festival Park — Wilmington Parkway & Chiquita Boulevard. Budget: $5.1 million. Anticipated opening: 2012.

Prospective amenities/concepts include: an amphitheater, pavilion, parking, soccer fields, fitness center.

n Yellow Fever Creek Preserve — 2801 Del Prado Blvd. Part of Conservation 20/20. Acquired for $3,323,506.74 on May 4, 2001. Nearly 340 acres in size. Not open to the public yet. Budget: $4.45 million. Anticipated opening: 2021.

Prospective amenities/concepts include: bird watching, fishing, geocaching, hiking, nature study, dog park, camp sites, visitor center.

Get a guided tour with city staff.

n Yacht Club Community Park — 5819 Driftwood Parkway. Budget: $11.2 million. Anticipated opening: 2021.

Prospective amenities/concepts include: parking deck, racquetball and bocce courts, playground, picnic areas, enhanced pool area, boat slips, event area with utilities, multi-use and walking paths.

Locklin said the input sessions this time around are to get an understanding of how each park can serve the community as a whole.

“How can we best serve the community,” Locklin said. “These parks will serve a broader base of the community — something for everyone. These parks are designed to engage families and visitors with multiple and diverse activities. They serve a broader purpose than the neighborhood parks and meet a wide variety of community needs.”

AE COM, the consultants for the projects, will be on hand to deliver a brief presentation and instructions on how to participate in the design process.

Locklin said he envisions “stations” of sorts, where each new park’s details will be laid out based on previous meetings and discussions — including renderings of each park.

Residents will be able to fill out comment cards on what they believe the biggest needs/wants of the new facilities are.

“They can come in and rank what they like the most, or the least,” Locklin said. “We want to know what they’d like to see in their neighborhood parks. We will have a mechanism for taking suggestions.”

Locklin, along with other city staff, will be at each meeting to help with any questions, comments or concerns.

Input from the October meetings on community parks will be taken into consideration, with potential changes and additions/subtractions before the second round of these meetings.

Those who are not able to attend the meetings can still have their input heard by the city via its website.

According to officials, lots of public input was submitted for the first round of meetings on neighborhood parks on the city website. All input is being compiled into a document to be posted so that residents of the city can see their suggestions have been taken into consideration.

Locklin said a Parks Go Bond survey will be on the home page where residents can share their thoughts or ask questions. Input from the website will be passed along to the consultants of the project.

Once the public input process is complete, and all public info and ideas are gathered, a “final product” of each park will be presented to the Cape Coral City Council.

The $60 million Parks Go Bond was approved in 2018 that will see the expansions of Cape Coral’s parks and recreation facilities — all part of the city’s Parks Master Plan. The 15-year general obligation bond is set to back substantial parks and recreation improvements throughout the Cape.

The additional parks and refurbished facilities are being constructed now, as the city anticipates to grow from the nearly 200,000 current residents to 400,000 at buildout.

Upgrades include the three aforementioned community parks, seven neighborhood parks and Yellow Fever Creek Environmental Park — as well as refining the existing 19 parks in the city.

According to the city, all GO Bond projects are expected to be completed by 2022.

For more information, visit the Parks GO Bond website at www.capecoral.net/GoBond.

Anyone that wishes to provide input and is unable to attend a meeting can complete a public input form, which is available under the “public input” menu on the Parks GO Bond website.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj