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Council reaches consensus on Yacht Club

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 24, 2020

Plan as previously considered.

Cape Coral City Council has reached a consensus on what it wants to see happen when the Cape Coral Yacht Club gets renovated as part of the city’s $60 million Parks Master Plan.

And while the proposed three-story parking garage was among the main sticking points, the location of the boat ramp and emergency boats also became topics of consideration.

The elected board reached a consensus on placing the boat ramp into the marina; the addition of a three-story parking facility; moving the marine patrol boats to another location and replacing the potential loss of boat slips that would result from the changes into the canal.

An ordinance will go before the City Council for public hearing at its Oct. 5 meeting. As it is right now, the project is expected to cost $34.2 million, with $14 million of the total to be funded from voter-approved GO bonds to fund the Parks Master Plan which calls for new parks and improvements to existing parks.

While the meeting is expected to be bring in a packed house, there were only a handful of attendees at Wednesday’s Council workshop.

Of those who spoke during citizens input, many live nearby. They expressed concern that the new boat ramp, which could be moved to one of the main canals from its location at the basin, would create more noise, congestion and perhaps even crime.

“These people live in the historic area and the Yacht Club is the crown jewel. They are concerned with the changes and the process,” said Joe Mazurkiewicz, a consultant and former mayor. “We need to address this project with neighborhood input.”

Among the big-money items proposed is the $8.1 million seawall and upland restoration, which has been untouched for nearly 60 years. Everyone agreed it had to be done.

The $5.4 million for a three-deck parking garage also had many on council in agreement, though Jessica Cosden wanted to go down to two stories, saying it was less expensive and that she was not convinced the city would need that much parking.

Michael Ilczyszyn, project manager for the parks, said adding a new deck in the future could be cost prohibitive and that changing codes in the future could make it more difficult.

He also said the garage needed to be more than just a gray box. It would have some decor, or even artwork, to make it more attractive.

As for as the location of the boat ramp and city boats, Councilmember John Carioscia said the location could create a quality-of-life issue for the neighbors.

“I have a problem with accepting boats into a canal with neighbors. I don’t know if I would want to see rescue vehicles from my lanai,” Carioscia said. “It fits nice, but it’s a quality-of-life issue.”

While moving them could mean the loss of revenue, Mayor Joe Coviello said it might be worth the cost to move it.

Most were in agreement with the overall concept. The exception was Councilmember Rick Williams, who saw the project as a crowded, jumbled mess.

“We need to know if this is a park or a revenue-generating business. It can’t be both,” Williams said. “You’re cramming a park on a marine business. What do you want? A marina or a park with amenities?”

If approved, project construction would begin in October or 2021 with completion expected to take approximately 30-36 months.

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