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One would hope

September 22, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The city of Cape Coral launched a new round of "brand" marketing this week as it entered a public-private partnership with Lamar Advertising.

The new effort, touted as an economic development image campaign, announces the city of Cape Coral is "open for business." The message will be promoted throughout southwest Florida on 16 billboards - including five that are digital - along the region's busiest roadways. At full implementation, the boards will get 369,323 views per day and more than 1.18 million "impressions" per week, officials said.

We thank Lamar Advertising, which is providing the initial campaign gratis. It's a generous donation and the message behind the campaign - that the city of Cape Coral is the largest between Tampa and Miami - is spot on.

Whether it generates more than awareness, of course, remains to be seen.

And this is where the city of Cape Coral must step forward.

As a community, and as a municipality, we've not always been what can be called business friendly.

The proposed luxury RV park, like many a project before it, is already being slammed by the anti-Realtor/developer/growth minority that decries, well, pretty much any proposal big enough for a presentation to Planning & Zoning.

It's also more than good strategy that the "open for business" message is not being promoted within the city limits - the Cape's oft maligned sign regulations are so stringent such a campaign actually is prohibited here.

The good news? On the city side, we are seeing some recognition that, perhaps, it's time to actually become a little more, well, business friendly.

Billy Fuccillo, owner of Fuccillo Kia of Cape Coral on Pine Island Road, has credited city co-operation with aiding his success in becoming the No. 1 Kia dealership in the country.

The city is strongly behind fostering business development near the soon-to-open VA Clinic on Diplomat Parkway.

Council also is at least open to some discussion on issues that the business community would like addressed.

As well council should be.

Case in point: Vacant storefronts and office buildings are blight waiting to happen and easing the fees, and expediting the processes required to get them filled is a proven way to do just that.

The city has already put in place a two-year moratorium on change-of-use impact fees.

That's a good start.

Looking at lowering impact fees for new construction would be a sound next step, particularly for "higher-use"- read higher fee- facilities such as medical use, the desired type of development for the Veterans Investment Zone around the VA Clinic.

Open for business?

We certainly do hope so.

- Breeze editorial



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