Monday, March 17, 2014


The Council for Progress is a group of local business leaders and movers & shakers in Cape Coral.

The Council for Progress voted unanimously at their Friday monthly meeting to form a task force for a 90 day period to look into possible options and funding sources to help preserve the former golf course property.

I have pasted an article about the Council for Progress below.

It was heralded as an agreement 15 years in the making.

“This is a very historic day,” announced Council for Progress Executive Director Joe Mazurkiewicz. “We officially become the thing we set out to be.”

The “thing” Mazurkiewicz referenced was an organization involved in a true partnership between some of the brightest business minds in the city and Cape Coral’s Economic Development Office.

Early this past Friday morning in a conference room at the Hampton Inn in South Cape Coral, Council for Progress chairperson David Owen put his name on a Memorandum of Understanding between the organization and the city effectively beginning a partnership between the two groups for the next two years.

The goal of the agreement is to recruit new businesses to the city and create a long-term positive economic impact for Cape Coral. They hope to attain that goal by utilizing some of the brightest business minds in the city, “I see a lot of opportunities that we have not been able to use before,” said MerriBeth Farnham, owner of HDPR Group, the local agency tasked with marketing the city’s Economic Development Office.

The basic framework of the agreement will work much in the same way the Horizon Council has worked with Lee County in promoting the area and recruiting new businesses.

The Council for Progress, for its part, will contribute a minimum of $34,000 per year to the city. All of the money contributed will be used for business recruitment and marketing. The organization will also play a major role in meeting with companies targeted by the Economic Development Office for possible relocation to Cape Coral, “It will be extremely beneficial for us to have like businesses meeting with those we are trying to recruit to our city,” explained Cape Coral Economic Development Director Dana Brunett.

In addition, Council for Progress members will also assist the city in developing marketing strategies to promote Cape Coral as a destination for companies worldwide.

In return for the group’s efforts, the city will contribute $17,000 which will be used along with the Council for Progress’ contribution to market the city and recruit new businesses.
With a current annual budget of less than $500,000, the additional funds coming from the organization will certainly help the city in recruiting new business. However, it is the resources the Council for Progress members provide to the process that has Brunett excited, “We have amazing talent right here in our own backyard. This agreement allows us to better tap those resources for the benefit of not just those involved but the entire city.”
Mazurkiewicz, has been the Executive Director of the organization since 1998, and says with the added exposure and influence the agreement brings he expects to see an increase in membership, which is currently around 100, “Our members now have a unique opportunity to have a direct impact on the direction of our city’s economic growth. I can see a number of local business people wanting to be part of that.”

According to Brunett, having those who have successfully created and maintained businesses in Cape Coral, is a tool in the toolbox that will go a long way in finally moving the needle in the city’s quest to lighten the tax burden of its residents.

“We want to position ourselves to be leaders in the community working together to bring new businesses to the city. If we are able to accomplish that, it will be a benefit to the entire city. This agreement is a major step toward that goal.”