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Why would anyone change Jaycee Park?

By Staff | Nov 16, 2023

To the editor:

I am a visitor to Cape Coral. Having visited Jaycee Park and then looked for more information about it on the web site. I was astounded (negatively) by the proposed changes and wonder how many residents are aware of what their City council is planning. I wrote to the Mayor and members of Council the following letter. I would appreciate a share:

Dear Mayor Gunter,

I am visiting a friend in Cape Coral. She took me to the wonderful Jaycee Park twice. I looked for information on the park and was surprised at the proposed changes. The Frequently Asked Questions page (https://cms4files.revize.com/capecoralfl/Jaycee%20Park%20Forum%20FAQ’s.pdf) left me puzzled on a number of fronts. Surely with the number of citizens in Cape Coral I saw using the park, there would be more questions — or were these questions designed by City employees? Having worked for the Canadian Government for 25 years, they have the feel of bureaucratic questions and answers used to sway people in the direction the Government wanted to go.

Any city would feel so blessed to have such a wonderful piece of nature available to all their citizens and visitors. I loved the openness of the river — no roaring boats or distractions. The length of the beach was open to all –not closed off in sections for boaters. Surely there are enough boating areas around Cape Coral that you would not want to desecrate the wonderful park with docks. I noticed that boats were using the river, so no doubt there are docks in the area. Why would the City want to risk the oyster beds and aquatic wildlife near the park with more boats and pollution?

It was so nice to see the open areas and family and other groups gathering and having picnics or just sitting and enjoying the nature around them with no band stand spoiling the view, no noisy tennis courts, no food trucks, no bars.

I noted that on another page of the city’s website that “Alcoholic Beverages — Alcohol is not permitted in any park unless pre-permitted for a City-approved event.” This begs the question of why a bar would be suggested for a place where children are playing and most people would probably drive to get to the park, resulting in potential drinking and driving violations. Really, would someone having had a few drinks on a hot day have the reflexes to avoid a child chasing a ball? I think having a bar would be a recipe for disaster. Would you want to risk your child’s life? And think of those living in the neighborhoods abutting the park — would they want to have the noise of food trucks, band stand activities and bars and the added noise and other pollution? Would you want all this next to your yard?

Why would anyone even consider changes to wonderful Jaycee Park!! I think the suggested changes would deter a number of local citizens and also visitors from using this beautiful park.

Also, just think of the cost of maintaining the band stand and docks on a regular basis, let alone replacing them after hurricanes. Can Cape Coral afford this extravagance? Have these costs been analyzed and added to the city budget for years to come? How do citizens feel about the extra tax money for things that many of them may never use?

Would it become a place for those who could afford to buy food at concessions, drink (and drive), and pay for docking privileges, rather than a park that all could visit and enjoy regardless of income?

Think of those living in apartments who want to take their children somewhere safe to play and to enjoy nature.

I note that removal of trees along the shoreline is being considered. Have you taken into consideration the erosion that could happen with waves, especially more due to more boats on the river docking there, let alone hurricane weather, if the trees and their roots were removed along the shoreline?

Surely it should take more than the votes of councilors — some of whom may not even visit the park — to decide on such changes. Why not save the tax dollars of Cape Coral citizens who are already financially challenged with higher costs for everything else in their lives and leave things as they are? I would think before even one shovel is put into the ground that the development of plans would be a great expense.

As a visitor to Cape Coral and having visited Jaycee Park, I wouldn’t go again if these changes would be implemented and I were looking for a quiet spot in nature to sit and enjoy the river and the people having fun in the park. Are you trying to deter tourists and families from using your park?

I look forward to your response.

Ellen Muise

Quebec, Canada