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Cape Coral residents look to the future; express their vision the Cape at buildout

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 30, 2021

The city of Cape Coral is developing a long-range vision of city as it moves toward buildout.

Part of that process is going to the residents and seeing what their vision for the next 30 or so years is, and on Thursday, some had their first opportunity to do so.

The city invited the public to participate in the community forum at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, and while attendance wasn’t what the city had hoped for, there were still a good exchange of ideas as to the direction the Cape should take.

Angela Crist, director of the University of South Florida Institute of Government, said this is just one component of coming up with a strategic plan, but an important and participatory one.

“We are engaging citizens, employees and will do some leadership workshops with the council and bring all that information together with goals, objectives and action items,” Crist said. “This is an introduction of the process to the community.”

Residents took part in two activities.

One was to draw what they want to see in their community using color, symbols and words. Nearly everyone said water quality was their top concern or close to the top.

The other used an improv technique called “yes… and,” where groups told a story of the future of the city, building the story as they went on.

Crist said a lot of ideas came about with that activity about the city and that all of the information garnered would be included in the report the council will see once the process is over.

“It’s another opportunity for residents to weigh in on the future of our city, and this is one of the great things about our city,” said Northwest Neighborhood Association president John Bashaw. “These events are facilitated, open to the public, and we have an opportunity to come and say what we like and input on what we would like to see change.”

Resident Judy Bare said the forum was informative and necessary, but wished that more people could have come.

“The problem comes when the don’t advertise it. Most of us found out by accident on Facebook,” Bare said. “A meeting of this importance people need to know about.”

How a mail survey was conducted and to whom the surveys were sent, was also a concern expressed by those attending.

The city has hired the Florida Institute of Government to facilitate this project and to develop an updated strategic plan that will be presented to the City Council. The project is expected to wrap up in August.