To the editor:
The Cape Coral City Council does not wish to purchase the Cape Golf Course on Palm Tree Boulevard. There are many other alternatives to purchase it. One way is to have Lee County's 20/20 Program purchase it. The city would not have to pay one red cent for it. The county would purchase and maintain it. Private residences would benefit in their property values rise when adjacent to park land. More taxes would be generated for our city. Some say that 20/20 has evaluated another golf course and it scored low as a parcel to buy. I believe, that every land area is different and this parcel will score much higher. Why? Because there are American eagles, foxes, burrowing owls, hawks, squirrels and even threatened kestrels live on the course along with many other animals. Other native animals could be introduced like quail and turkey and maybe even deer. Children and adults have four or five ponds to fish on. It is the only large parcel of green space in the main section of town. Walking and jogging trails could be put in place over the old cart paths and connected. The garden club could plant demonstration plots of flowers, herbs, butterfly plants and vegetables. Even vegetable garden spaces could be rented out so people could grow gardens.
Or consider that Lee County Parks and Rec could buy it using 20/20 money that was diverted to the general fund.
Another alternative would let the Trust for Public Lands buy it and resell it to the city three or four years from now when our city should be able to afford to pay it off. The Trust for Public land would work closely with the city and spread the cost to buy the park over several years. A win-win for everyone.
A third alternative would be to bond it. The city could sell the bonds to individuals so the city would not be spending money to buy it.
Its the same age old squabble between the builders and the environmental groups. Joe Mazurkiewicz with the building industry, wants to pave over the golf course putting houses, maybe condos, and businesses in place on the golf course when our downtown businesses are blighted and going out of business. He doesn't care for the downtown area only bent on making money for his rich clients on the only green space left in this area. Well Joe, I happen to live near the golf course. The added noise, the destruction of the wildlife, the traffic will all detract from our beautiful area. Making our city just another humdrum East Coast city. Put the development in your backyard.
Here are the facts. Lee County has 1/10th of an acre per person under conservation compared with the statewide average of 2.5 acres per person. This low level of conservation is clearly inadequate to insure recreational opportunities for current residents let alone the million county residents anticipated by 2035. Water retention could be put in the park, too. We need more parks. I think Cape's ratio is even worse than this. But my concern is the children and tourists who would flock to the park now and generations to come. With the eagles I believe hundreds would come to see the nest and the babies. We could have our own eagle cam. Are you listening the two or three council people who praised Mazurklewicz. I believe you ran on a platform to listen to the people. Joe does not represent the majority of people in Cape Coral. The evidence was before you in all the people holding up green space signs and you still supported this builder's outlook? Don't the voters count?
The city manager should take a broader view of our city. He needs to look at the comprehensive study asking for more green space that was done with the public at a great cost to our city. He should be supporting the children, residents and tourists, that would benefit from a park. Or will he take the easy way out of having a private public partnership which will in essence destroy the 180 acres of green space left in the south center of town. Please keep it as a park in its entirety.
I am writing this as the local Audubon president with approximately 1,500 members strong. However, some of this is my opinion and should be taken that way. However, our board voted for this as a park. Our club is nearly sixty years old.
Audubon President, Audubon of SW FL, Inc.