Utility project earmarked for Yellow Fever Creek Preserve
With Cape Coral City Council finally expected to consider a consulting contract for the next phase of the city’s multi-million dollar Utility Expansion Project next month, city staff is continuing to work on plans for a new water facility component to be located on site at a planned “passive park” in the northeast Cape.
To serve new water, sewer and irrigation water customers in neighborhoods north of Pine Island Road where the North 2 expansion phase is wrapping up and the North 1 phase is set to begin, the city is finalizing plans for a $10 million water storage project on city-owned property at Yellow Fever Creek Preserve off Del Prado Boulevard.
The project, to have its own entrance off the Del Prado Extension, is to include at least two water storage tanks for irrigation water (possibly two additional potable water tanks in the future); a man-made lake of approximately 15 acres, with a proposed five-foot berm, to provide the fill needed for the project; as well as a water retention area and related components for the facility.
“Storage tanks — two for irrigation water will likely store about 5 million gallons each,” said Maureen Buice, city spokesperson, in an email. “While the dimensions of the tanks are not yet determined because we are still in the planning stage, these tanks are similar to the ones located at the City’s facility on Everest Parkway.
“The Yellow Fever Creek location for the water storage tanks will have the least impact to residents as alternative options would be in residential neighborhoods.”
The city estimates that the projects will improve water quality to the Caloosahatchee and Matlacha Pass and provide 3 million gallons per day of additional water.
The storage tanks are to be located at the far northeast corner of the site across from the The Village of Entrada neighborhood. In a presentation by the city last year, city staffers state the irrigation tanks could provide service by 2022 with potable water tanks anticipated in a 2030-2040 time frame.
“The water storage tanks may be funded through a combination of utility rate revenue and impact fees collected from new customers/development,” Buice said.
They will not be funded with designated park funds, she said.
Cape Coral City Council and the Lee County Board of County Commissioners have been working in concert on the project.
The two elected boards entered into an interlocal agreement, which included engineering plans for the Yellow Fever Creek Hydrological Restoration Gator Slough Transfer Facility, in January 2019.
Those plans, prepared by AIM Engineering, were revised in May.
“The utilities tank project has been in the planning stage for the Yellow-Fever Creek area for a number of years,” Buice said. “The proposed tanks were introduced to City Council when the Lee County Yellow Fever Creek Interlocal Agreement was presented and approved by City Council in January 2019. The tanks are needed to provide water storage for potable water and reclaimed water to serve the Northeast section of Cape Coral. This particular site will save money by co-locating utilities on City owned property and the site proximity to large diameter existing water and reuse mains.”
Yellow Fever Creek Preserve has portions owned by separately by the city and the county.
The city owns 197.66 acres to the north with its portion designated as passive park land in the city’s $60 million Parks Master Plan, approved by city voters in November 2018.
As part of the plan’s development component, the park is to include improved hiking trails, an equestrian trail, dog park, parking and space for “primitive camping.”
The city also plans to carve out acres for the planned water project to serve new utility customers.
The proposed project work area for North 1 is approximately 4.3 square miles, in the northeast quadrant of the City of Cape Coral bounded roughly on the west by Santa Barbara Boulevard and Andalusia Boulevard, on the south by Hermosa Canal, Arrowhead Lake, Fairmont Canal, Balmoral Canal, Lake Zurich, Zurich Canal, and Banjo Canal, in the east by Northeast 24th Avenue, Diplomat Parkway and Corbett Road and on the North by Northeast 28th Street, according to the city website.
North 1 encompasses approximately 3,000 improved parcels and approximately 5,400 unimproved parcels. North 2, actually done first, is about 5 square miles and includes about 8,000 parcels.
The county-owned 333.8 acres was purchased as part of the Conservation 20/20 program in May of 2001. It includes “portions of the headwaters of Yellow Fever Creek, a narrow channel that accumulates shallow water during the wet season,” according the Lee County Conservation 20/20 website.
There currently is a 2.5-mile marked trail system at the preserve, which connects to a 3-acre pond for fishing.
The city and county plan to connect the trail systems through the abutting properties.
Buice said according to Cape Coral Utilities, the project is consistent with the Parks Master Plan.
“In fact, the project includes a 15-acre lake for Yellow Fever Creek Preserve, which will be used to improve water quality,” she said. “This project will restore natural flows to Yellow Fever Creek, Matlacha Pass and the River. The project will restore Yellow Fever Creek flow without negatively impacting the city’s irrigation water supply and it also will improve water quality by reducing phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients.”
Cape Coral also has water tanks at Palm Tree Boulevard and Van Loon Lane, Pine Island Road and a 12 million gallon tank at the North Reverse Osmosis Plant off of Kismet Parkway.
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