Saturday, October 21, 2006

Action on Golf Club welcome

After months of inaction, Cape Coral City Council is taking a look at options for the closed Golf Club facility.

This is long overdue.

Thanks, though, to newly appointed District 1 Councilmember Tom Hair, the board agreed this week to investigate options and seek an appraisal to determine the value of the 178-acre site that includes an 18-hole course and clubhouse.

Councilmember Hair presented the following options for consideration:

- That the city purchase the 178-acre Golf Club property near downtown Cape Coral outright.

- That the city sell city-owned “surplus” land in less desirable locations and use the funds to purchase the property.

- That the city change current land use ordinances on a small portion of the property to allow for the development of hotels, condominiums and commercial space to entice developers who could then sell the golf course to the city at a reduced price.

Council voted 6-1, Councilmember Alex LePera dissenting, to explore these options.

We hail the majority vote. As stated in previous editorials, a benefit-cost analysis, a look at options and costs makes sense for the taxpayers and the city, which continues to decry a lack of parkland and continues to buy — a parcel at a time — land in the north Cape for a major park.

Meanwhile, a citizens group has already formed and put together a proposal — still in the research stage — that would allow some development provided the course and the bulk of the property were to be donated to the city. The self-formed task force made up of Club owners, community leaders and representatives of nearby home and condominium owners thinks the site can be made attractive to a developer who could, perhaps, to allowed to build 500 units in some combination of condo, hotel room and “hoteliminiums.” In exchange, the city would get the course gratis with the committee saying under this scenario, the developer also could agree to a long-term management and operations contract for what would then be a city-owned course.

Again, an interesting concept in addition to the others on the table.

We look forward to the appraisal and the parks report. And we thank Mr. Hair for moving the issue into the fact-finding mode.

— Breeze editorial