Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hair seeks public input on issues


Cape Councilmember Tom Hair is holding a District 1 public input meeting to discuss key issues concerning the Cape’s downtown area Wednesday evening at the Cape Coral Realtors Association building in Club Square.

“I want to ask the citizens what’s important,” said Hair. “I want to get their input.”

Hair expects three main issues to be discussed during the public input session, including: the Yacht Club master plan, the CRA and proposed downtown development and the city’s former Golf Club.

“The people living next to the Yacht Club are concerned that it could become a larger incarnation of itself,” said Hair. “A few people said don’t change a thing, but most people want the area to be modernized but not go overboard. I would like to make the area more manageable, but I wouldn’t like to see a parking garage down there.”

Hair said he hasn’t heard much from residents regarding the CRA and proposed downtown developments, but expects the topic to arise during the meeting.

While The Golf Club is in District 4, Hair said he has received a handful of e-mails from residents concerned with the rapidly deteriorating condition of the vacant property.

After losing $3 million in five years, the course was forced to shut its doors Aug. 1.

“I’ve gotten more than five e-mails from concerned citizens about The Golf Club asking what the city should do,” said Hair. “It’s a jewel. I could just imagine that being the Cape Coral version of New York’s Central Park. I’ve been told by several people that they’d like to see a jogging and biking path encircle the entire course. It just seems like a terrible waste of space to sit there the way it is. It’s going to create an eyesore and possible safety concerns for people living near the course.”

Hair said the vacant property was a liability issue waiting to happen.

“We could have people walking around out there and falling into a pond or getting bitten by a snake,” said Hair, adding that he has included The Golf Club on the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting.

“You’ve got this big empty piece of land waiting for something bad to happen to it,” Hair said. “The question becomes, is it the city’s job to step up to the plate and buy it outright? Right now, I don’t know.”

City Council appointed Hair to fill the vacant District 1 seat on Sept. 25 following the death of Councilmember Jim Jeffers.

Hair has lived in Cape Coral for 10 years and is a math professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The public input session is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m.