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Cape Council to consider naming park after Mayor Coviello

Council also to consider moving its workshop meetings to Friday morning

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Mar 2, 2021

Joe Coviello

The Cape Coral City Council will consider on Wednesday a proposal to name a city park over a recently lost member, Mayor Joe Coviello.

When the council meets in council chambers at 4:30 p.m., it is expected the elected board will approve a resolution recognizing Coviello for his dedication and service to the City of Cape Coral by naming the public park south of Oasis High School Mayor Joe Coviello Park.

Coviello, who helped spearhead the effort to pass a referendum in 2019 to fund the city’s $60 million parks master plan with general obligation bonds, died unexpectedly on Jan. 13.

As the naming proposal is on the consent agenda, it will be passed automatically unless pulled for discussion by council. It is believed it will be, but more as a way to praise the late mayor than to hold debate.

Mayor John Gunter said he will likely pull the item if nobody else does.

“We need to have a discussion on that topic. A lot of people, the family members, came forward, as did some of staff,” Gunter said. “If this is something the council wants to do, then we will.”

“Naming a park for Joe Coviello, it’s important to honor him and his accomplishments. It’s a positive way to pay tribute to him and what he did for the city,” Councilmember Tom Hayden said.

In other business:

* There may be a significant change in the way the city holds its workshop, or Committee of the Whole, meetings.

As proposed, workshop meetings would take place every other Friday at 9 a.m. in council chambers, with the exception being the March 10 workshop, which will be at 9 a.m. at the Westin.

There also would be two workshop meetings per month, on the second and fourth meeting of the month, instead of one.

Gunter suggested this new format, as there is going to be a lot on the city’s plate regarding the strategic plan and economic development.

“There are two topics likely to be very lengthy conversations and, right now, with only having one COW meeting per month, we have a lot on our plate,” Gunter said. “Having one four-hour meeting, there isn’t enough time for council to have a conversation and give the direction the city manager is looking for.”

“The city manager laid out an aggressive plan he would like to see happen with economic development. In order to dive deeper into those things a more aggressive COW schedule is needed,” Hayden said.

Gunter said Friday mornings seemed to be the best time, since most on council have jobs and others are more flexible.

The city, for years, had more traditional workshop meetings alternate with regular meetings. Only back then, the workshops didn’t last too long. These meetings are expected to be longer and jammed with information, Gunter said.

* City Council to expected to approve a memorandum of understanding to participate in the Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact, which will connect local and county governments on issues regarding climate change and sea level rise, the need for potable water, regulatory structure, and seasonal and older demographics.

Council, if the motion to join passes, will appoint one member of the council to represent the compact.

“We will be addressing some of the environmental issues regionally, and I think that’s important. We can do it collectively as a group versus each independent city trying to address them,” Gunter said.

“Anything that could help us deal more with climate change and how it could impact our city is important for us to look at,” Hayden said.

* Council also will begin the process of appointing a Charter Review Commission and significant changes in the city council schedule.

* Council is expected to vote on an ordinance that would amend the landscaping code to allow invasive exotic vegetation to be removed from public park sites and allow for reductions to the total tree planting requirement for public park sites.