Groups spar over future of Cape Coral landmark
Battle lines are quickly being drawn over Cape Coral’s oldest golf club.
A group representing Florida Gulf Ventures LLC, The Golf Club’s owner, filed an application with the city to change the way the 175-acre city landmark can be used. The change could turn the site into an area for offices, condominiums and retail shops. The owners, who also filed an application to demolish The Golf Club’s clubhouse this month, want residents’ input at a public meeting in May.
Another group, Save Our Recreation, represents about 215 residential owners on or near the course. The group also will have a public meeting in late May to discuss ways to stop development.
Neither group’s meeting has been scheduled because venues have not been found. More than 200 residents showed up at Councilwoman Dolores Bertolini’s town hall meeting at 918 S.E. 46th Lane in February. There were so many people that the fire department stationed a ladder truck outside the building as a precaution.
“We will fight that land use change,” said Joe Mazurkiewicz, owner of BJM Consultants, who was hired to fight for Save Our Recreation’s cause. “It is our position that we will not accept any use that does not include an 18-hole golf course.”
Attracting people to the cause should be no problem, Mazurkiewicz said.
“We don’t have to convince anyone — everyone already knows developing the course is not a good idea.”
Gulf Ventures sent a letter to golf course neighbors and club members stating that they have no set plans for the property. The letter states that the owners want to engage residents and business leaders to decide what would be good for the site. The owners promised a “significant public park and lake components.”
More than one resident along the golf club’s borders remained unimpressed.
“I’m so disappointed they closed the golf course,” said Angela Braden, 45, who lives on Southeast 42nd Terrace. “If they (develop) I worry about my street becoming a thoroughfare.”
The course sits on what has become 171 acres of dry, brown grass. The owners shut off the sprinklers after closing the course in August 2006.
“I was devastated when the course closed,” said Palm Tree Boulevard resident Marguerite Schaeffer. “We joined the club to support it. I hoped it would stay a recreation area.”