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Editorial: P3 makes a splash

By Staff | Jun 7, 2024

A new multi-million dollar recreation project is on the horizon, thanks to the tenacity of area non-profit dreamers and city staff.

Cape Coral City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with YMCA of Southwest Florida, Inc., giving staff the green light to pursue and negotiate an agreement that could bring a $40 million complex to the Cape Coral, including a competitive-size swimming pool, an amenity our city of nearly 240,000 lacks.

Talks about entering into a public-private partnership for a YMCA facility on undeveloped parkland the city owns at 1120 Kismet Parkway East began after a YMCA project fell though and City Manager Mike Ilczyszyn reached out last year to see if there was a way to bring a similar project to fruition in the northeast Cape.

According to both parties Wednesday, it apparently is with the YMCA committing to a capital campaign to raise $16 million, the city placing $12 million on the table, and both agreeing to pursue grants and other resources to come up with the remaining $12 million.

With the Council nod, both parties will now begin a “good faith effort” toward a development agreement for “a private YMCA facility that will include, but not be limited to a fitness center, gymnasium, and an outdoor competition-sized swimming pool” at the currently undeveloped park. In addition, “roads, parking, playground, splash pad, sports courts and fields, sidewalks, restrooms, picnic tables, pavilions and landscaping” would be built or installed.

Count us among those pleased to see the proposal on the table.

Public-private partnerships can and do work.

Especially when entered into with proven private partners, in this case a longstanding, community-focused nonprofit.

“P3s” save tax dollars by bringing private funding into the fiscal picture.

Well-executed ones make sure the amenities are affordable, accessible, and to the benefit of the taxpayers who have paid for, or will pay for, the “public” component of the deal.

This one has that potential.

It has, in fact, “whet” our interest.

We look forward to seeing the development plans.

— Breeze editorial