Sunday, June 05, 2016

Everyone benefits from green space. Letter to editor, Cape Coral Breeze

June 3, 2016
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:
I want to respond to Marie Kavanaugh's letter to the editor published on May 27, regarding Save Our Recreation's efforts to save the historic old golf course property from being developed by D. R. Horton with 600 homes. I want to make clear that Save Our Recreation is not just a group of local property owners who are whining about something going up in their backyard. Yes, many of us are local property owners, but there are many others who have donated to our cause who do not live by the property. We have members of the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, local business persons, and even former city planners who would like to see this beautiful and unique piece of property saved.
The city's own consultant who is working on the Master Parks Plan indicated in their preliminary report that Cape Coral is lacking in park space and in particular large public parks/recreation areas. This is true in the southeast Cape where the old golf course is located as well as other sections of Cape Coral. The city is working to alleviate this in the northeast with Festival Park which is a park a great distance from where I live, and something I likely won't use much, but it is something I very much support and appreciate that the council is moving forward on. What is unique about the southeast Cape versus the other parts of the city is that there is very little green space left and losing this last large contiguous piece to development of a high density housing development is not good for the long- term benefit of the city. Finding large parcels is very hard in a city that has been platted into many small parcels. This property is also special as it was one of the first amenities in the city and many people located in Cape Coral because of the golf course. It is also very close to the downtown entertainment district and the possible Bimini Basin development. We need this property to make this a destination area where people from not only Cape Coral, but elsewhere come to spend their time and money.
As for the revenue impacts, whether the homes will even sell for enough to be revenue positive from a tax perspective is not even known yet. If D.R. Horton asks, as I am sure they will, for any concessions related to utility infrastructure this will further strain any potential tax revenue. Also, restoring and keeping this property as a destination park or recreation area will increase the property values of the homes in the nearby neighborhoods and this increased tax revenue is clearly all revenue positive as the city already provides services to the existing homes.
Lastly, we need to think not of just today, but of generations to follow. A friend once told me that no one ever has been criticized several generations later for preserving green space, but many have been criticized for letting something precious be lost to just another home development. Oh, and as for myself, I am willing to help with finding a cost effective solution for the city purchasing this. Both with my time and my wallet.
Barth Wolf, President
Save Our Recreation, Inc.
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