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Council to hold Strategic Planning Workshop

Meeting moved to City Hall

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jul 20, 2021

Editor’s note: The story below has been updated to reflect a change in the location for Cape Coral City Council’s strategic planning workshop.

The meeting place has been changed from the Public Works Building on Nicholas Parkway to the City Hall on Cultural Park Boulevard, Conference Room 220A, Because “several people will be joining remotely and the audio set up in the conference room will allow everyone to hear the speakers.”

Public input will be accepted at the beginning of the workshop set “for the Mayor and Council Members to begin work on the strategic priorities based on the data that has been gathered,” officials said.

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City Hall staffers and residents have had their say on what they want to see in the future for the city of Cape Coral. Now, the Cape Coral City Council will get its turn.

Council will participate in the first of two Leadership Forums hosted by the Florida Institute of Government on Friday, July 23, at 9 a.m., in Conference Room 220A at City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.

The purpose of the workshop, which will begin Phase II of the process, is to develop the city’s strategic priorities based on information gathered by the Florida Institute of Government at the University of South Florida from various stakeholders, including the community and city staff.

The city held two community visioning sessions. One was held in May at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, where only a few dozen residents attended, while the other was held June 8 at the Lake Kennedy Center with a full house.

Residents had the opportunity to participate in activities such as changing the city’s vision and mission statements, and desired outcome and prioritization exercises.

The community process left some skeptical, even cynical, that the visioning forum was going to work or that the city was going to listen to the residents’ requests.

Councilmember Tom Hayden said while things got off to a rocky start, it got a lot smoother as residents became involved.

“The second workshop worked better with the different groups, dividing it up by topic, seeing the information they provided to help us on Friday move forward,” Hayden said.

Among the topics likely to be discussed include water quality, education, public safety and the need for median improvement and sidewalks, among other things.

A second leadership forum will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers. Once the strategic priorities are identified, strategic goals and long-term strategies will be developed that will address the established priorities.

A draft report and final presentation to city council is expected by the end of August.

Hayden said the next few years are going to be critical in the city’s future, and these forums will go a long way to determine the direction the city takes.

“It’s critical to set the vision and pathway for the next 30 to 40 years, and I think the strategic planning session goes a long way in determining that,” Hayden said. “This will be invaluable and that’s what excites me about it. This is what I wanted to see happen, at least in my term.”

The meeting is open to the public and public input will precede the Council discussion.