Thursday, June 30, 2005

Letter to City Leaders

To the Lee County School Board, Cape Coral City Council and all others who may be concerned about our golf course:
We purchased our golf course home in October 1998 and have for the most part enjoyed every minute of it. Now it looks as though it will be taken from us and our neighbors. Here are our thoughts on this travesty:
The News-Press states that the purchase of prime property was 26 million dollars. Money spent that the entire Lee County will bear the brunt of in their taxes. It is prime property because of the golf course. Once there is no longer a course the value becomes grossly deflated and the tax payers are still liable for 26 million dollars. The School Board does not contribute to our tax base therefore we will lose whatever tax contributions the golf course makes to our city.
Mr. Scott Siler stated that "golf business is in decline". How false is that!!!!? Would developers be building golf communities all over Florida if that were true. Golf course communities are being built everywhere in the entire country for that matter. The Fort Myers/Eastwood Courses have had record years. In season you have to call days in advance for a tee time. Off season it is a little easier due to the winter resident's return to their northern homes. The reason golf is on the decline at The Golf Club is because his rates are too high, when there are so many less expensive courses in Fort Myers and surrounding communities. Most everyone is willing to pay $2 in tolls to save $15 or more in green fees. Golfers from other communities are not willing to pay $2 in tolls to spend the extra money to play at The Golf Club.
Our tax record states that our property is single family residential, GOLF COURSE etc, etc. We paid for this in our purchase price and have every year in our taxes. Is the city and county going to lower my taxes since I will no longer have golf course property? Again I state the value in the property is the fact that it is golf course, not schools. Are the citizens willing to spend 26 million dollars for the property that once the golf course is gone probably won't be worth any more than any standard lot in Cape Coral?
What about the properties on a lake, is that next? Will they want to fill in a lake and take away that from other residents next? As absurd as it sounds what about the canals, can they be filled in for roads or filled in and land locked denying access to the river and gulf to those residents? Where will it end if this is allowed to take place here?
This was timed perfectly for deception, the school board and city council are off for summer vacations and the winter residents are also gone for the summer. If no one was trying to pull the rug out from under the residents of our neighborhood than why the secrecy and why wasn't it even mentioned at the last board meeting. Then Mr. Browder could have given the full $25,000 instead of having to short it $1 without consulting his superiors. He overstepped his bounds on this one.
This is an established neighborhood of long time residents who purchased on the golf course to see them into retirement. Some of the newer residents purchased their dream home and used every bit of their savings to purchase here hopeful that it would increase in value.
Lets get to the problems a school complex would bring to our lovely, established, historical neighborhood.....traffic, congestion, noise, pollution, litter, stadium lights, more traffic, more noise, more litter, decreased property values, water runoff and flooding of existing homes and streets. More importantly, lets discuss environmental issues....where will the bald eagles go, the wood storks, tortoises, herons, fox, otters, ducks, fish and much more who call the golf course home.
Cape Coral has the beginnings of gangs staking out territories. What are next, drugs on our street corners? We all know that drugs are more readily available in and around schools than anywhere else. Students are the targets for drug dealers, hook them young and you'll get them for life. This is NOT what we want in our neighborhood. Traditionally schools are built and those that want to live near a school build there. Not the other way around.
These are but a few issues that arise from the under handed dealings of Superintendent Browder and Scott Siler. I'm sure the residents of our beautiful neighborhood can come up with hundreds of reasons this is a bad deal all the way around. Is someone interested in what they have to say? Go to our website and hear what the people want. After all, this country, state, city and community were founded on basic rights granted to us by the Bill of Rights, first and foremost, that we are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. Happiness, that is what we have found right here, in our golf course homes.

As always, we remain,

Arthur T. and Michelle L. (Shelly) Sauer
702 Wildwood Parkway
CC, FL 33904