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Food truck park planned

By Staff | Jun 11, 2020

A progressive and innovative waterfront food experience may be coming to Cape Coral.

Riverfront Solutions of Cape Coral, LLC, made up of Jeff Darragh, Rodney Poole and Tony Gargano, are looking to create a food truck paradise at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge, where both the public and boaters can gather to enjoy a vast variety of food selections and beverages.

They presented what they call “Cheekee Park” to the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday, which was in favor of the idea.

“We’re excited about it,” Darragh said. “We think it’s a great location, we think it’s a great concept and we’re ready, willing and able. We’re enamored with this whole plan and we think it’s going to be pretty cool.

“We’re taking a regular food truck park to a whole other level. We want to prove an experience, a destination.”

The park would stretch 3-acres at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge and have room for eight to 10 food trucks, 30 boat slips, a centralized Tiki-style bar and Tiki-style seating for guests who could arrive either on foot or by boat.

Other amenities would include a fire pit, games, shaded Tiki areas to get out of the sun and fountains. There also would be live music. Current plans are to have the park open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.?

“I think it’s a great idea,” said CRA Chair Stacy Lomonaco. “It’s something new and has not been done in Lee County. I know food trucks are a really hot topic right now. I think’s it’s really cool and something new that will bring people from all over.”

The group hopes to bring in residents and boaters from all over Southwest Florida to this food truck hub, where Darragh and his team said they would bring the best mobile tastes and flavors the area have to offer.

“We’re looking for food trucks that operate on a rotational basis so that there’s always new and exciting flavors coming at you,” he said. “We’re hoping to attract the best of the best, the most passionate food truck operators out there.”

Another draw to the area will be the variety of foods available on any given day. Darragh said this is a great way to satisfy the taste buds of any member of the family.

The group believes, through marketing research and their own experience, that a food truck park to this standard in Cape Coral would be a great attraction for residents of the entire region. And they want to be in it for the long haul.

Darragh and his partners say they have experience in and around the food and beverage business, clubs, golf courses, commercial development and more. This idea is one that’s been brewing for some time.

“It’s a wide variety of talent that the three of us have pooled together,” Darragh said. “We’ve been looking at food trucks and food truck parks for three years.”

His group would control the bar and liquor side of the operation.

Darragh and his team are working through the permitting processes required to make the proposal a reality. They hope to have all aspects of the plan approved by the end of the year, and are setting their sights on next year’s Red White & BOOM! celebration to hold an official grand opening.

“Cape Coral can stand out there with Portland and Orlando in having one of the best of the best of food parks,” he said.

Darragh said the name Cheekee Park is a play on the word Tiki. He said they went with the Tiki theme for a number of reasons.

“It’s the most comfortable structure that our native friends here in Florida figured out, and they were right,” he said. “They’re relaxing, they’re comfortable and they’re flexible. They’re remarkably strong during storms and hurricanes.”

Darragh also hopes this will keep more business in Cape Coral rather than residents going over the bridge for food.

“We want to provide the consumer with more high-quality choices,” he said. “We’ve researched these parks, and it’s all ages – the old, the young, every walk of life.”

Lomonaco agreed with Darragh’s sentiments.

“I love keeping people in the Cape, and not having that leakage over to Fort Myers,” she said. “I also would love to be able to bring people in from other areas and bring more money back down into the South Cape.”

The CRA checked the box on their end to show there are in favor of the project and would work on zoning for the area.

Lomonaco said the location might bring some issues due to the traffic coming over the bridge, but hopes that can be remedied.

“I’m hoping the developers can work with the traffic engineers to find some sort of viable solution to make sure that’s a safe place to get in and out.”

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj