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Cape to consider 3 community park designs

By Staff | Feb 27, 2020

Cape Coral City Council on Monday will consider the design of three community parks to be developed as part of the city’s $60 million Parks Master Plan.

Council is expected to vote on whether to approve the proposed designs for improvements at Lake Kennedy Park, Festival Park and Yellow Fever Creek Preserve with funding to come from the voter-approved GO?bond.

Yellow Fever Creek Preserve off the Del Prado Extension is to include “primitive” campgrounds, an environmental center, trails, disc golf and a gopher tortoise habitat area.

Also on the design to be considered Monday is a water storage and pumping facility to be located on the northeast corner of the park.

That utility component was not included on the original concept plans presented to the public nor was it on the sign the city erected on site.

The planned utility facility, part of the city’s Utility Expansion Project, would not be paid for with the general obligation bond revenue earmarked for parks.

The storage tanks are part of a joint Cape Coral Lee County project water storage and water quality project. The interlocal agreement for this project was approved by Council in January 2019 after the GO Bond was approved and also after the 2018 concept plans for the future parks were created, said Maureen Buice, public information specialist in an earlier email exchange.

The city is finalizing its plans for the $10 million water storage project at the preserve to serve utility customers in neighborhoods north of Pine Island Road where the Utilities Expansion Project in North 2 is wrapping up and the North 1 phase is set to begin.

The project is to include at least two 5-million-gallon water storage tanks for irrigation water; 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.

Although the facility was not included in the earliest renderings, it is in the current plans online, the project is.

“This is a sewer and water project. We’re using part of that land to store the tanks that is necessary for the pressure utilized to get the water to the people,” said Councilmember John Carioscia Thursday, adding there will be landscaping brought in to make the project almost hidden from the eye.

“It has to be put there because it’s the ideal location. Anywhere else it would be cost prohibitive,” Carioscia said. “Once we got the cost, it was a no-brainer.”

Lake Kennedy Park’s main features will be up to 32 pickleball courts, which many of the city’s players said was most needed in the Cape, and 12 tennis courts, making it the pickleball capital of the city, as well as a pro shop, and concessions.

At Festival Park, where the city hopes to hold many public events, there will as many as 10 lighted soccer fields, large and small pavilions, an amphitheater with bandshell and grass seating to hold up to 15,000 people, Seahawk Air Park, and a fitness center, when everything is completed.

All the parks will have common amenities such as restrooms, parking and paths and trails.

Carioscia said that he plans to approve the concepts after staff spent as much time gathering input from residents.

“The city has done a lot of work. There are people who want certain things and don’t want certain things and we can’t accommodate everyone,” Carioscia said. “We’re going to do the best we can to bring in something in the neighborhood that will appeal to everyone.”

Public input on these parks were held throughout the fall of last year, with refinements and cost estimates having taken place over the winter.

If approved, construction documents and permit applications will be submitted, and bids and construction selection will take place by the end of 2020.

Construction will take place throughout 2021, with completion expected by the beginning of 2022.

Council also is expected to discuss the hiring process in its search for a new city manager, including the salary range.

City Manager John Szerlag is expected to retire from the position in November, but Council has said it wants to find a candidate quickly so that person can be brought up to speed before Szerlag moves on.

Council also is expected to fill a vacancy in the Health Facilities Authority and two for the Charter Schools Governing Board and the Construction Regulation Board, and consider removing single-family home development from the Pine Island Road District Future Land Use Classification, freeing it up for exclusive commercial development.

Council meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.