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City hosts ribbon-cutting to officially open section of SUN Trail

By FRAN THOMAS - | May 12, 2023

Cape Coral City Councilmember Bill Steinke cut the symbolic ribbon to open Phase I of the SUN Trail, short for Shared Use Non-motorized Trail, today in north Cape Coral.

The SUN Trail Network is a statewide system of paved trail corridors for bicyclists and pedestrians. Phase I, which is 3.5 miles long, runs along Kismet Parkway from Nelson Road to El Dorado Boulevard, and connects with Van Buren Parkway and the Burnt Store Trail.

The location for the trail was strategically selected, Steinke said.

“A large percentage of our population does not drive. This enables them to get around,” he said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In 2017 the Florida Department of Transportation awarded the city of Cape Coral a $1.8 million grant to design and engineer a 12-foot-wide, 6.5-mile-long SUN Trail segment.

According to Interim Public Works Director Persides Zambrano, discussions of where to build the trail began in 2015. At the urging of Ron Gogoi, Transportation Planning Administrator for the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization, she and her staff applied for the grant. They got it on the first try.

Phase I includes the only pedestrian bridge in Cape Coral.

Gogoi said the city received a total of $40 million for all three phases; however, costs have gone up since then. An additional $200,000 appropriation for SUN Trails under Senate Bill 106 was approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis and is effective July 1, 2023.

Phase II is anticipated to begin in 2025 and will include an additional 3 miles of the SUN Trail segment from Nelson Road to Del Prado Boulevard.

The city will soon work to design a Phase III, which would connect Del Prado Boulevard to the city limit at Northeast 24th Avenue.