Monday, May 16, 2016

Neighbors fight future plans for abandoned Cape Coral golf course WINK NEWS Video

Wink News Video


Good afternoon,

We have set up a 501(c)(3) organization called Save Our Recreation, Inc.  It will be used as a vehicle to help us fund our efforts to preserve the old golf course property and stop the D.R. Horton development plans.  Our goal is to have the city retain the parks and recreation land use for this historic property.  We will also encourage the city to purchase this property back and restore it to a great recreation area. 

To assist us in preserving this property we have retained counsel and a land use expert to assist us in making our case for preservation.  If you are wondering what you can do, we need your help now for a number of things:
1.     Buy a yard sign from Mary Neilson for a minimum donation of $15. each.  Email Mary at or Call/Text Mary at 239-243-5989 to arrange pick up.  The signs will be a visible sign of our interest in preserving this property.  They will also provide funds which will help with the costs of our efforts, including our counsel and land use expert we have retained.  Please place them anywhere in the Cape, it doesn’t have to be around the golf course as this is truly a city-wide issue that seeks the best long-term use of this last large remaining green space in the Southeast Cape.
2.     Donate to our efforts by check made payable to Save Our Recreation or online at   We ask that all supporters consider giving a donation of at least $50.  Of course, if you can’t give that, or better, if you can give more, feel free to give what you can.
3.     Keep writing and emailing the council and mayor.  They are hearing your messages.  The email address,, will reach all council members, the mayor and the city manager.  Remember to make sure all of your communications are respectful and use a tone that is appropriate.
4.     Watch for future messages as we believe D.R. Horton may file for land use designation changes and other approvals in the near future.  There should be at least 3 public hearings that will be required and we will want all our supporters active and engaged in this process.

That’s all for now.  If you have questions, contact our President of Save Our Recreation, Barth Wolf at, our Treasurer, Mary Neilson at or our marketing and fundraising leader Anne Carney at  If you’d like to join Anne's team by volunteering your time and/or send her fund raising ideas feel free contact her.

Please don't forget to share this message with your neighbors and friends in Cape Coral.  If you would like to be included in future email updates, email a request to Mary at

Letter to Cape Coral city leaders. SAVE OUR GREEN SPACE IN THE SOUTH CAPE

Dear Mayor Sawicki, Council Members, and City Manager Szerlag;

I was very fortunate to be able to attend your Parks and Recreation Meetings at the CCYC approximately three months ago and the follow up meeting last Wednesday by Barth Associates. My wife and I were at the first meeting to voice our concern for lack of green space/ biking trails/ long walking trials in the South Cape. Seeing that there is a strong emphasis today on wellness & being proactive with our health, we feel that Cape Coral is very much in need of an area in the SouthCape that can house these various wellness venues.

We have the perfect opportunity to make a multipurpose area / park right here in the South Cape - The Golf Club property. Bart Associates stated last week in their findings that the first area of need was 1) Beaches and the second area of need was 2) Parks. Parks is definitely something tangible that we can make possible. Wellness areas, biking & walking trails, wifi areas, natural wildlife areas, pickleball courts, and many other recreational needs can be met in this one area - The Golf Club property.

Based on the Barth Associates Study, the interviewed people indicated that they would be willing to travel up to two miles in order to participate in recreational activities for themselves & their families. However, in the South East Quadrant, there were no recreational areas within two miles of where these families lived. Therefore, these families in this area are being underserved. Keeping The Golf Club property as a green space for recreational purposes would solve this problem.

Seeing that the population of Cape Coral is increasing by 10,000 people every 10 years, I strongly feel that the ratio of green space to population is going to decrease greatly in the next few years, especially in the South East Quadrant. We have to look to the future of Cape Coral with its greatly needed parks & recreational areas, and not be shortsighted by allowing this available property to be used for home construction. The purpose of this vacant Golf Club land can also be used as an amenity to the Bimini Basin Project as well as your proposed 47th Ave. Project. Look at the positive emphasis you are putting on downtown. Let's keep it going and make this area a real hub of the city.

I am a proud home owner & resident of Cape Coral. I  am asking the city council at this time to seriously look into keeping the Golf Club property a green space. Let's be visionaries and make this available land a real crown jewel for Cape Coral & our future generations.

Paul Wallander

Letter to mayor and council

May 9, 2016

Dear Mayor Sawicki, Council Members and City Manager Szerlag,

My name is Barth Wolf and I reside at 4007 Palm Tree Blvd, Unit 108, Cape Coral, FL 33904.  I am writing to you with respect to the old golf course property.  I am a retired attorney and President of Save Our Recreation, Inc. an organization organized to protect and preserve environmental and recreation property in Cape Coral, and in particular the old golf course property.  I am not writing this on behalf of Save Our Recreation, Inc., but instead as a concerned neighbor and citizen.  I am aware of the proposed D.R. Horton offer to purchase and their current efforts which included meeting several of us concerned neighbors.  I have also followed closely the 5 year Park and Recreation Plan process.  I understand that the golf course was discussed at the May 4 meeting where the Barth Associates Master Parks Plan study was reviewed and at which it was suggested that the golf course be discussed at the May 11 meeting during the discussion of Capital Assert Management Plan.

I want to urge the Council to maintain the current Parks and Recreation land use designation for the golf course and also to look at options to purchase the course and bring it into the Master Parks Plan process.  Although I would personally like to see the property restored as a golf course, I am more concerned that we not lose this last, large, historic piece of green space in the Southeast Cape lost for generations to come.  I had a city manager friend tell me once that no one has ever been criticized in the future for preserving green space in a manner that benefits the community as whole for generations to come.  At the time some may say it is folly to purchase land for park and recreation purposes, but generations later that person is often lauded as a visionary and people erect statutes and plaques honoring them.  You have that opportunity with the property. Once developed into small lot homes and condos, that opportunity is lost forever.  It also can potentially be part of or complement any future development of the Bimini Basin.

I want to make several specific points.

First, the Barth Associates study clearly shows that Cape Coral is lagging in park and recreation space as compared to its own standards and even more so when compared to national averages.  We bill ourselves as a top destination for people to relocate to.  Maintaining and enhancing our park and recreation options is critical to maintain this status.  The fastest growing demographic in the study was shown to be the 55-65 age group.  Many of these are active retirees (or soon to be retirees) who are looking for ways to stay active.  I am one of these people.  This property, whether golf course, multi-use recreation park or nature area fits this need and is really the last such option in the Southeast Cape.

Second, our city planners when first developing the comprehensive plan designated this land as green space with Park and Recreation use (a golf course at that time).  This has stayed this way in the plan until today.  In fact, the city even litigated the issue and was found to have the authority to maintain the current land use designation.

Third, the city added this property into the CRA back in 2009. The CRA Plan stated about this particular parcel that “The key objective for this area is the acquisition of the golf course, its redevelopment back to a viable course, the opportunity to include certain complimentary commercial and recreational uses, the use of the open space to support storm water system and/or other environmental projects, as well as programs that support the residential sustainability of the surrounding neighborhoods.”  The council when updating the CRA Plan in 2014 kept this same language without change.  Allowing this property to be developed with high density residential properties is completely inconsistent with the CRA Plan and would not utilize the TIF funds generated to meet the CRA Plan.

Fourth, purchasers of property around the golf course and in Area 12 of the CRA (which includes the golf course) have had numerous things they’ve relied on in the public record that have influenced their investment expectations that they bought and/or retained ownership of property on or near a golf course.  These include 1) the first sales of property in Cape Coral when the golf course was a major selling feature of the community 2) the Comprehensive Plan, 3) the CRA Plan, 4) the successful litigation upholding the right to retain the Parks and Recreation land use designation.  Property owners have relied on these and will likely suffer economic harm if high density residential development occurs.

Last, this is a chance to save a historic and unique piece of property in the Southeast Cape that can be a focal point for generations to come.  Our kids and their kids should have the ability to enjoy this property for years to come.  Doing the right things with this property can continue to make Cape Coral a great place to live.  Whether it is a golf course, stand-alone multiuse park, nature park or other destination green space let’s do the right thing with this property.

Barth Wolf

Letter to City Leaders 'Do The Right Thing'

Dear Mayor Sawicki, Council Members and City Manager Szerlag,

How heartening to read national news stories about the Cape ranking 2nd best place for Baby Boomers to live and invest - after Mesa, AZ!  I was among the early wave of Boomers who purchased a condo, as did my sister, at Banyan Trace when the Golf Club was a jewel in the crown in the South Cape.  

We moved in - seasonally at first - and designed an active lifestyle that gained the attention of 2nd home buyers and investors.  And we continue to flourish as a desirable place to live in the South Cape.  With resident volunteers we organized ourselves with activities, such as water aerobics, poolside workouts, cycling, and a tennis league.  And we particularly loved the Golf Club's Club House with its energy, fine dining and wonderful sounds of music from family parties and wedding receptions that wafted across the golf course.  We had discovered Paradise. There was no place else like it in the entire Cape.

What an affront when the golf course was sold to Ryan Construction and the infrastructure torn out sending a strong message to any of us citizens questioning the future of our green space.  The historic Club House was leveled in the quiet of summer! Gone without a trace except for the memories of good times.

You have the opportunity of your lifetime to right this wrong in our community.  

With the recommendation of the Barth Associates findings to support you as you practice your due diligence, you are in the right place at the right time.  Your decision to save our green space will be a significant step in bolstering the Cape as we continue to transition into an active lifestyle community with the promise of outranking Mesa!  

No doubt you're aware of the groups that have sprung up with enthusiasts coming to the Cape for Late Night Bike Rides that meet at Clubhouse Square and the "Let's Night Walk" boardwalk outings at Four Mile Cove. We are becoming a happening place.  The golf course property needs to remain green for present and future generations.

Anne Carney, member 
Save Our Recreation, Inc.
4005 Palm Tree Blvd, 402
Cape Coral 33904