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Council to discuss parks; city manager search

By Staff | May 14, 2020

Cape Coral City Council is expected to continue its plans for the gradual reopening of city parks Monday with Phase II of its reopening plan on the agenda.

Also set for discussion in the workshop session is an updated concept for Tropicana Park to be brought forth by AECOM.

Tropicana Park has been an issue for members of the Northwest Neighborhood Association since December, when a concept that included two buildings for two rowing clubs were included in the development plans.

The NWNA said the final concept brought forth was not the concept they thought had been presented for public input. The homeowners group said it did not want two buildings with, potentially, a large storage structure, to be placed in the neighborhood park to be developed as part of the city’s $60 million parks master plan.

Since then, one of the non-profit clubs, the South Florida Canoe and Kayak Club, closed, leaving just the Caloosa Rowing Club as a provider of water sports in the city.

The city, club and the NWNA have tried to reach a compromise, including looking at putting the club elsewhere. However, the alternate locations were not suitable for the club, including one on Crystal Lake that could have been made into a rowing complex.

During Monday’s meeting, Council started discussion on a new concept. The board said it would like to see an extension of the beach that had been shortened, an addition of green space and an expansion of the boat launch to the east.

An additional four parcels owned by the city would also be added to the park, which is where the rowing club is expected to be.

A playground would then be moved west with the restrooms more to the center, near where the two rowing buildings were proposed be. Also, a proposed splash pad would be removed and placed at Meade Park.

Also in a continuation from Monday night, the Council will delve further into the process it will use to hire a new city manager.

It is expected that at least some of the interviews of the five selected finalists for the position will be done by video conferencing. Colin Beanziger, who conducted the applicant search, will give the Council instructions on how the interviews should be conducted.

The five candidates are:

* Anne Fritz: Chief Financial Officer for the City of St. Petersburg, (population 260,999) since 2010. Has worked as finance director for 30 years in Florida and Ohio.

* Rob Hernandez: Deputy City Manager for Fort Lauderdale (population 182,595). Was city manager of Savannah, Ga. from 2016-19.

* Rob Perry: Most recently worked for the City of Albuquerque, NM (population 560,218). He was the Chief Administrative Officer for seven years and the City Attorney for one year. Was Secretary of Corrections for the state of N.M. from 1997-2002.

* Kenny Young: Most recently worked for Loudoun County, VA (population 413,538). He was the Assistant County Administrator for five years and a Senior Project Manager for three years.

* Leonard Sossamon: Most recently County Administrator for Hernando County (population 186,553) for seven years. Was city manager for 13 years in Concord, N.C. from 1985-98.

The initial hope was that the finalists would be named May 4 and that interviews would by May 14 and 15.

The candidates will engage in one-on-one meetings with council members, followed by a special meeting with the candidates being grilled individually by the full council.

Council would then discuss the next steps or decide on a new city manager. If the latter happens, it will be up to the city to negotiate a contract with the person selected.

The workshop meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers. City Hall is at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.