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City OKs funding for waterpark’s Tot Spot renovation

By Staff | Nov 17, 2015

Parks & Recreation Director Steve Pohlman won approval from City Council Monday night for a plan to reconstruct the Tot Spot feature at Sun Splash Family Waterpark.

The feature, built in 1992, has been deteriorating over the last several years and some of the interactive play equipment had to be removed due to safety concerns. Council unanimously approved the expenditure of up to $742,319 spread over three contractors to complete the work in time for the 2016 season.

Honc Industries will do the demolition work before Aqua Builders tackles the site construction. The new Tot Spot equipment will be purchased from Wizard Works Product Development Company.

“The new Tot Spot will have 41 interactive play features,” said Pohlman. “This is long overdue. Attendance at water parks can jump as much as 25 percent with each item added.”

The return on investment question was posed at the meeting and Pohlman responded that at a low end 10 percent increase it would take five years to recoup the expense. If the park hits a 20 percent increase in attendance it would only take about two years.

The funds will be taken from the Waterpark Fund through a transfer from the General Fund.

A Bicycle Friendly Community

The city was presented with a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists at Monday’s meeting. The Cape is one of just 351 cities recognized by the league based on the city’s construction of more than 90 miles of interconnected bike paths with seven dedicated routes, maps and kiosks throughout the city.

“This is a significant achievement for Cape Coral and reflects our commitment to improving the quality of life for our citizens,” said Mayor Marni Sawicki. “Our goal has been to create safer bicycling opportunities in our community, and we have made significant strides toward that goal thanks to our partnership with Cape Coral Bike Ped.”

Former state representative Gary Aubuchon made the announcement and recognized a number of key individuals who worked tirelessly with the city in creating the project.

“You should be proud of your efforts to build a world class bicycle community,” Aubuchon said. “It is the first step in achieving the goal of making Cape Coral a national model for bicycle safety.”

Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, said a survey taken among visitors indicates 25 percent enjoy biking here.

“Most people who visit Southwest Florida want to spend time outdoors,” Pigott said. “This impressive bicycle-friendly designation is an asset to the entire community. Safe biking paths offer locals and visitors the chance to spend even more time exploring our slice of paradise.”

“Dancing With Dolphins”

The Cape Coral Art League updated council on its “Dancing With Dolphins” project partnership with the city. The project is being launched in 2016 to celebrate the Art League’s 50th anniversary.

Six-foot-tall dolphins, made of fiberglass, are to be painted by local artists and put on display throughout the city and remain in place until April 2017. A dozen locations for the dolphins have been approved so far.

The Art League will sell sponsorships for each dolphin to raise funds to cover the cost of a new roof needed on the building in Cultural Park. A number of fundraising events are being planned around the dolphins to encourage visitors to tour the city to view all of the different dolphins. Sponsorships range from $2,300 to $4,000.

Other items

Council approved its meeting schedule for 2016 at the end of Monday’s meeting. The schedule continues the 4:30 p.m. meetings weekly on Mondays except for holidays and council hiatus periods.

A separate meeting schedule was approved for 10 special workshop meetings next year, accompanied by suggested topics to be discussed at those meetings.

Before the scheduled council meeting, members convened a short Community Redevelopment Agency board meeting to elect a chair and vice chair for next year and approve its schedule for meetings.

Commissioner Jim Burch was elected to chair the commission with John Carioscia accepting the vice chair position. The results unseated Rana Erbrick, who had served as the chairperson since the city assumed control of the CRA Board duties three years ago.

The CRA will meet six times in 2016, basically every other month, at 4 p.m., at the Chester Street Resource Center. Their first meeting is Feb. 16 next year.

City Council’s next regular meeting is Nov. 23 in Council Chambers.