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City breaks ground for Gator Circle Park

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Oct 13, 2021

It may have been a little later than planned, but ground was finally broken Friday for the Gator Circle Neighborhood Park, which will give residents in the north Cape a place to go to walk, play and enjoy the great outdoors.

City dignitaries were on hand to celebrate the occasion, featuring comments from Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter, District 7 Councilmember Jessica Cosden, and Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Runyon.

Gator Circle Park, off Gator Circle between Northeast 15th Avenue and Northeast 15th Place, is budgeted at $3 million and is expected to open next spring.

It is one of five parks that will be on cost and close to being on schedule, officials said.

The next park, Cultural Park, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony this Friday at 10 a.m.

Parks were originally expected to be completed at the end of this year, but the pandemic ground work on parks to a halt.

Gunter said he was happy to finally get the parks started and give the residents what they promised when voters approved the $60 million GO Bond to fund a new parks master plan in 2018.

“This is the first park we’ve broken ground on and it feels good to fulfill a commitment to the residents of the city. It’s great to see the expansion of the parks that are utilized so much by our residents,” Gunter said. “The timeline was pushed back because of COVID and the costs have been pushed past $60 million, but we are committed to fulfilling our commitment.”

Gunter said the overall cost of the parks projects in the master plan will end up in the $70 million to $75 million range. City Manager Rob Hernandez at a recent CCCIA meeting said it may be closer to $80 million.

Gator Circle Neighborhood Park will feature basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, a six-foot walking path, fitness stations a playground, restrooms, picnic shelter, open space and much more.

Cosden, in whose district the park will be located, said such an amenity is much needed.

“I’m excited for all the families here and for my family. We drive miles to go to the nearest park, so, it’s exciting for the families of northeast Cape Coral to be getting a substantial neighborhood park,” Cosden said.

Runyonsaid she was excited to see dirt finally being turned at a future city park.

“This is something we’ve been waiting for about three years and this is a dream by the Parks and Rec division that is coming to fruition,” Runyon said. “People want to see something they can bring their children to and have all the amenities and bring their kids to and participate in any activity.”

For more information on the park groundbreaking at Cultural Park, 528 Cultural Park Blvd., see our story at here: https://www.capecoralbreeze.com/news/local-news/2021/10/12/groundbreaking-set-for-friday-at-cultural-park/