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Residents, officials turn out to ‘Catch the Vision’

November 15, 2016
By JONATHAN BLIKSTAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Christian Fellowship hosted Cape Coral's sixth annual "Catch the Vision" presentation Tuesday night. The program is designed to provide an update on development within the city and what lies ahead for the community.

Gloria Raso Tate is one of the directors of this event, which has gotten bigger every year.

"We started with 250 in attendance that first year, and tonight we have 500," Tate said. "We have 12 sponsors and 20 vendors. We started this because in 2009, Cape Coral was the epicenter of foreclosures in the U.S. We have to start getting positive press for our city. We want to showcase our city, and let people know that we're open for business!"

The event started at First Baptist, but was moved four years ago.

"We like the audio/visuals, and the community park setting. Overall, it's a better venue," said Tate.

The event was held outdoors in the church's Fellowship Park for two years, but the second year it rained, and so has been indoors since.

Her portion of the show was to highlight the work of the Cape Coral Animal Shelter. The shelter has a lease on a 4.5-acre piece of property where they hope to build a "Doggie House"" as an animal shelter. It will be located behind Sun Splash off Santa Barbara Boulevard.

Terri Smith just moved to Cape Coral in February. She and friends Barbara Smith and Pam Carey came specifically because they volunteer at the animal shelter.

"I loved the exciting things going on in Cape Coral," Terri Smith said. "I'm really excited about what's happening on 47th Street. It has completely turned around. There are industries coming into town. The whole thing was entertaining."

The fast-paced, news-like presentation was all new this year.

"We had a whole new format. We did videos in the field, and then wrote the script to surround them," said former Mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz.

He was one of the two anchors for the show. The other was Lee Swaffield from Fidelity Title. Whether it was a live interview or videotaped, the different people brought the latest, greatest news of what's going on in the Cape.

Kate Holleran from Florida Mortgage has been a sponsor since Catch the Vision started.

"This is the best I've ever seen. It was a great presentation. Of course, anything Gloria (Tate) does turns out perfectly," Holleran said.

One of the most enlightening parts of the night was the presentation by Dana Brunett, director of Economic Develop-ment for the city. He outlined several places where the city is experiencing real business growth.

Commercial building permits are up 62 percent from last year. The goal the city has set for the commercial tax base is 20 percent. Just recently, it has moved from 8 percent to 12 percent.

Brunett reported that Forbes magazine has listed Cape Coral as potentially being one of the fastest growing cities in the next decade.

He cited several new businesses coming into town, including two of what he called "Tier One" car dealerships planning to locate on the Pine Island Road corridor.

One other showcase was the plans to build a Conference Center with room for 800 for weddings and 1,400 for conferences.

Even Big Blue Brewing company has come to town, transforming downtown's old bingo hall into a brewery and restaurant.



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