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Cape Coral to discuss reopening of beach, courts

By Staff | Apr 30, 2020

The Cape Coral City Council is set to discuss its next phase of possible park reopenings Monday.

Discussion and a potential vote on the opening more city parks includes the beach at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, dog parks, pickleball and tennis courts and athletic fields, though not for organized sports.

Mayor Joe Coviello brought forward the continuation of getting the Cape opened up again after last week’s opening of city parks for walking and biking while keeping amenities closed, following the lead of Lee County, which opened parks and beaches.

“Lee County opened up some park amenities and I thought we should discuss something similar to stay within what others are doing,” Coviello said. “Tennis is something where people can maintain social distancing and the county opened up the dog parks but are asking people to bring their own chairs.”

Councilmember John Carioscia last week asked if the pickleball and tennis courts could reopen. While the games lend themselves to social distancing, the crowds of people waiting to play did not.

On the athletic fields, parents can take their kids to play catch or take batting practice, but not organized games or practices.

In other business, Councilmember Jessica Cosden has brought forward a discussion on narrowing down the field to replace City Manager John Szerlag, who will retire in November.

“The search firm we’ve used has zoomed in on a number of candidates. We’ll talk about the process council will use to reduce the list and find a new city manager,” Coviello said. “We have recommendations the search firm has given us, and we’ll discuss them.”

With the COVID-19 virus still an issue, Coviello said they can talk with the candidates virtually instead of face to face as in the past.

“There are many ways to interact in a face-to-face meeting through today’s technology,” Coviello said. “I know there are some strong candidates from this state.”

Also, one of the two consent items will be a resolution to approve Greeley and Hansen for additional construction, engineering and inspection services for the North 2 utilities expansion project.

The construction industrywide labor shortage and recent pandemic-related impacts caused the contractors to exceed the original contract time durations.

The $286 million project is nearing completion, providing approximately 9,000 new customers the ability to connect to the city’s municipal water, sewer and irrigation systems. Staff anticipates a cost savings of approximately $17.7 million, which will result in assessment refunds.

The other consent item will be an approval to apply for a grant for the Cape Coral Police Dept. to purchase license plate readers. The $105,000 grant will be for the 2021 fiscal year.

Council meets at 4:30 p.m.at City Hall on Cultural Park Blvd.