Saturday, November 15, 2008

Input sought for golf course site proposal


The Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency is looking at incorporating the Cape Coral Golf Course into the CRA’s boundaries as part of a plan to keep the land operating as a golf course.

Florida Gulf Ventures bought the 177-acre course in 2000, but recently sought the approval of city councilmembers to change its land-use designation from parks and recreation to mixed use to allow for new residential, retail, and office space.

The CRA will present its plan Tuesday during a town hall meeting hosted by Councilmember Dolores Bertolini. The meeting will be held in council chambers at 6:30 p.m.

“What we want to know is if the people are interested in the possibility of the area around the golf course coming into the CRA,” said John Jacobsen, executive director of the CRA.

Under the plan, the Trust for Public Lands, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, would acquire the golf course while the city and the CRA develop a plan for its use.

“They can act quickly to come to an agreement with an owner” and develop a way to run the course, Jacobsen said.

The city could run the golf course itself or lease it to an independent operator.

Those options are “premature,” according to Jacobsen, until the people are heard from.

“We aren’t going to take one step forward unless we have the approval of the citizenry and the city itself,” he said.

Bertolini admits it could take some time before the plan comes to fruition.

“This is not a short road we’re taking but it’s one of the more positive approaches I’ve heard,” Bertolini said.

Many residents near the golf course have spoken out against Florida Gulf Ventures’ plans to develop the course, but Bertolini said she’s ready to hear their input on the new plan.

“I understand there’ll be a big crowd and I’m prepared for it. That’s the purpose of this whole meeting, to share with the people all the information I have,” she said.

The CRA will discuss the plan at its meeting Wednesday and make decisions about going forward with it based on feedback from residents at the town hall meeting. The CRA’s meeting will be held at 447 Cape Coral Parkway East, Suite 108, and is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Town hall meeting on CRA’s golf course plan,
hosted by Councilmember Dolores Bertolini
Council chambers, City Hall
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18

CRA discussion of golf course plan
447 Cape Coral Parkway East, Suite 108
5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19