Friday, March 24, 2017
To the editor:
The proposed land swap would go a long way to substantiate the city's claim that it spent $13.2 million dollars on land, in 2012, to trade and use for future city projects.
The City of Cape Coral owns 1500+ parcels of land. Of those parcels, over 1100 are vacant. The city of Cape Coral cannot legally hold or purchase property for investment purposes. That fact is not subjective; it is part of our Constitution. The city is beginning to appear as though they are real estate speculators.
We need to be reminded that we are not collecting property taxes, fire assessments, storm water, mowing or utility fees on those 1100+ properties. That equates to a tremendous amount of lost revenue annually for the city. In fact, millions of dollars, in potential revenue, has been lost on the 491 parcels that the city acquired in 2012 alone.
Mr. Szerlag has an opportunity to substantiate the city's claims regarding the $13.2 million land purchase, by trading some of the city's property for green space. No one disputes that the city needs green space and that the Old Golf Course would make a great addition to the city's resources. It is a rare occurrence when the city staff, city manager, city council and mayor all agree on a topic. It would be refreshing to see all parties involved move in unison to do something positive for the future of Cape Coral, while honoring the city's past. Please remember that Cape Coral "wasn't born yesterday."
I understand the historic relevance of the Old Country Club and Golf Course property because I was here when the city was being formed. My family moved to Cape Coral in 1970 when I was a young child. To put that into perspective, there were no traffic lights in Cape Coral when my family arrived 47 years ago. It wasn't necessarily "better" back then, it was just "different." Cape Coral is my home town and I am proud of her progress and willingness to welcome new residents from all over the country. It was what the founders, of this city, intended from the very beginning. Every new resident that finds their way to Cape Coral comes from their own "home town." Most of those people have sentimental attachments to their roots. Towns and cities all across America have places of significance or sacred landmarks that define their existence. That is what the old Country Club and Golf Course Property means to Cape Coral. It's where the city founders played, prayed and plotted. It's where they breathed life into this city. In many respects, Cape Coral was born on that property. It deserves our respect and preservation. It's not about walking trails, traffic or zoning. It's about remembering where we came from and acknowledging that some things can't be factored into an "appraisal."
I implore D.R. Horton to take the high road and to demonstrate that Cape Coral is more than just a modern day "Pottersville." I beg of both new and old residents to encourage our leaders to respect the foundation of our beautiful city and to honor her past.