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Residents looking to raise, not raze, the Yacht Club planning turnout at Council meeting

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Jun 6, 2023

Residents who want to save the Cape Coral Yacht Club Ballroom building are organizing for the Cape Coral City Council meeting Wednesday.

Gloria Tate, a longtime resident and former council member, said she hopes there will be several who will voice their concerns about the Yacht Club during Citizens Input.

“It is not about memories,” she said of the Yacht Club, which the city plans to tear down. “You can keep them in your heart and hold on to them. This is about the only historic building that we have left in the city to preserve that tells the story about our city. Where it began. Those houses that surround it. I hope that is a clear message.”

Tate submitted an application to the state for historical designation, a first step toward getting the building considered for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. She said the state committee was meeting Tuesday. The process will take another two weeks.

The packet included the application form, the property appraiser’s information on building ownership, a News-Press story from 1960 outlining why the community’s developers were building the complex and its intended public purpose, and a special historical edition published last year by the Cape Coral Breeze in conjunction with the Cape Coral Museum of History to mark the Cape Coral Yacht’s Club’s 60th anniversary. Councilmember Tom Hayden, a member of the museum’s board of directors and a career journalist, provided the historical stories for the anniversary edition.

“I submitted it (the application) on behalf of myself as a citizen, and Councilmember Tom Hayden did it (The Breeze section) with me. It was quite in depth,” said Tate, adding that unfortunately the application “doesn’t give me any standing with council. They can still tear it down. It will be a little harder to destroy something the state has deemed historic.”

From there it will go to the national level, still not any guarantee of preservation, she said.

“I think people are really passionate about wanting to save it. We have one building and they are going to take that building down,” Tate said.

On the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting:

• Funding for School Resource Officers is among the agenda items. The city began providing SROs in 2018 to schools in the city and has an SRO program established in the Cape Coral Police Department.

The resolution is to approve an agreement with Accelerated Learning – North Lee County campus, the Cape Coral Charter School Authority, Southwest Charter Foundation and Heritage Charter Academy.

• A resolution includes ratifying the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Cape Coral and General Unions for pay increases and range adjustments. The payscale would be a minimum of $15 an hour as a starting wage for General Union bargaining units and non bargaining employees. This adjustment is a 4.24 percent increase in pay and pay ranges. The new rate would begin July 1, 2023.

• Public hearing for Ordinance 52-23, which includes repealing and deleting the Golf Course Advisory, Nuisance Abatement Board, Waterway Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Cape Competes Advisory Board. The ordinance also includes changing the Youth Council from an advisory board to a fact finding board.

The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, in the Council Chambers at City Hall 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.

Editor’s note: This story has been clarified to better explain the submission of the application to start the process of having the Cape Coral Yacht Club recognized as an historic building. The application was submitted by Gloria Tate, a long-time resident of the city and a former Cape Coral City Council member. The packet included stories published last year by The Breeze for the facility’s 60th anniversary which were written by Councilmember Tom Hayden, a member of the Cape Coral Museum of History’s Board of Directors. Councilmember Hayden was not a party to Ms. Tate’s application to the Florida Department of State.