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Cape can’t afford to buy golf course

October 18, 2013

To the editor: I recently read that Councilman Chulakes-Leetz wants to have the city buy the old golf course. I believe the cost is somewhere around $12 million....

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Oct-18-13 9:04 AM

Isn't it curious this same person railed at spending $13 on other properties as reckless and we don't have the monies or we stole from somewhere else, now he wants to give away, take the land off the tax rolls, then more money to improve it, yadayada, It's voting time. Smell it. Don't choose, this route.

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Oct-18-13 9:26 AM

It would be a great place for a solar farm.

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Oct-18-13 10:28 AM

I would say I have to agree that while the concept to spend the money on that piece of property we do not seeming have the money in the correct account to do it.

How much money is stuck in the CRA account? I do know the city borrowed $10 million from the CRA to underground electric utilities in the CRA district. Have we paid that back? Was it interest free? Do we have a timeline to pay it back if we have not? Could the CRA lend the city interest free another $12 million to buy that land? Could one of the existing hotels in that south area have an interest in leasing the land, improving the land to golf course quality and run it? Naturally paying the city a piece of the profit? It is too bad the Hampton Inn could not be uprooted put on the front edge of the property and recreate the Cape Coral Golf Course/Cape Coral Golf & Tennis Club. A 100 room money maker that was drained for other investments elsewhere!

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Oct-18-13 10:34 AM

The $13 million of shotgunned properties all over the city for no real purpose is quite different from the piece of property in question. The piece of property could have the potential of becoming a revenue stream. But not with city employees running it or paying out benefit packages and pensions that are ludicrous.

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Oct-18-13 1:34 PM

The problem is the City should not be in the business of business. They need to sell the Golf Course.

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Oct-18-13 1:34 PM

In addition, it is quite ironic, as Lolita said, that it is Councilman Leetz, a "fiscal conservative", is advocating public enterprises when we really don't have the money.

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Oct-18-13 2:44 PM

Let's start with "could have the potential of becoming a revenue stream". Really, if the City were to buy the property, take the property off of the tax rolls, redo the Golf Course into "some kind" of money making venture, then find outside people to run that business, how much money are we taking about???? Millions, which we do not have. The owners should sell it with the present restrictions. They knew it when they bought it, they fought the City and gave in. Sorry. very very iffy to say the least. And by the way, do the homework on the undergrounding. The "facts"do not jibe. Leetz is on a runaway train and can't get off. Let's help him.

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Oct-18-13 4:05 PM

Replace Leetz with who? Certainly not the man in the News-Press debate.

That man's mouth was moving and words emitted but they made NO SENSE! Just NONSENSE!

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Oct-18-13 4:07 PM

What a bunch of shortsighted people. Parks bring up property values and increase the quality of life of residents. It makes the ara more appealing. Ever hear of Central Park? The potential is enormous. Some things you have to jump at when the opportunity presents itself.

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Oct-18-13 4:37 PM

litwich: your desperation is growing and showing. In 4 years Leest has not had one usable plan except allowing dogs on patios at restaurants. As he has 6 or 7 dogs, that was rather self-serving! Berating the unions was passé two years ago when we voted you out and it still has a negative impact on you and your ilk. Thank you at least for sober typing today--beats the heck out of the drunk ranting!

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Oct-18-13 4:38 PM

Rocco... New York built a whole City around a very expansive Park that took multi millions to build and run. We are talking about 175 acres. People in this City and those on this venue rail about the costs of the Coral Oaks and Sun Splash that bring in revenue but cost more to run. Thought we didn't have the monies to buy anything says so many, now the same people think the City should pony up $13m or so just for starters,etc. etc. It's common sense. Cost, plus loss of income from the land, plus another cost to run it. Anyone think somebody is going to jump at the chance to run it for free?

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Oct-18-13 4:46 PM

If putting a golf course and hotel there would bring revenue to the City, why then did the golf course and hotel that was there, GO OUT OF BUSINESS? Too much profit? Bwahahaha!

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Oct-18-13 9:48 PM

Liteswitch, you said "I do know the city borrowed $10 million from the CRA to underground electric utilities in the CRA district". I believe it was the other way around. The City borrowed the money to the CRA and they had to pay the City back. I might be wrong but I do not believe so.

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Oct-19-13 9:33 AM

To JCMCKAYFL, I also think the CRA at the time did borrow the 10 mil for this underground project with the idea that a developer would build a high rise type of building downtown but wouldn't until the exposed wires were buried. So we buried the wires and the developer turned and ran off with the CRA's dream. Thankfully the city dis-banded the old CRA "spend as they wish board" and took it over. Still no downtown major projects, only a few more restaurants. The city must tighten the belt on spending, not getting into the golf business.

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Oct-19-13 10:21 AM

Here's a little secret you people seem to have forgotten. The old golf course is part of the CRA. It has to be the CRA that would buy it and they have no money. They need to pay back the city for the undergrounding of the power lines, in which the city lent the CRA the money. As someone stated already. We got screwed by the developer that pushed the undergrounding. His project will never be built. What happened to the land given to the developer for a parking garage that the city owned?

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Oct-19-13 11:27 AM

The Golf course is not in the CRA. It is privately owned. There is property that abuts the golf course that was moved into theCRA.

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Oct-19-13 2:53 PM

go look at the map of the CRA. That entire area is in the CRA. Everything within the boundaries of the CRA is included according to the map of the CRA. The homes are privately owned but are included in the CRA.

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Oct-19-13 3:09 PM

I could be wrong about the golf course. It is within the CRA boundaries. It is privately owned just as other properties in the CRA.

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Oct-19-13 8:27 PM

Where is the CRA's $10 million dollars the city borrowed to put the electric utilities underground?

Don't tell me the city manager did not figure any of the repayment to the CRA budget for the $10 million or any part of it. What was the term of that loan?

Szerlag you gonna have some splanin to do! And the $6.5 million for road resurfacing not put in the budget! What else is not in the budget? We know there was a 5% bonus based on the base salaries of every city employee.

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Oct-19-13 8:43 PM

seandhartman I only agree with you because some cities have capable administrators and ironclad accounting systems to be in businesses.

I believed at one time Cape Coral was capable. Time and history have proved this to be folly. Cost of personnel is too costly comparing the private sector market, employees do not have either the fear or the respect of their employer. The benefits and pensions have shown us these types of ventures can't even break even let alone generate a surplus over costs. So I agree with you Cape Coral has no business in golf, water park, or anything else that resembles free enterprise. Leave the city to own the land buildings and just collect the rent. (They have a problem even figuring out what a lease is worth). It also shows Community Development Dept. can't even find a developer or buyer for the golf course or a hotel to make it a destination property in FLORIDA. That is why we have paid the big bucks to people that come do nothing and leave.

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Oct-19-13 8:58 PM

jcmckayfl If you check the archives of this paper or the NP the CRA had the $10 million in their account from taxes.

The city was tight for revenues this was in 2011. The city had gone round and round with Lee County Electric to run high tension poles in wires from the substation at Everest for 10 years (2000). Lee County Electric offered the lines underground then did not want to do it. However the decision was finally made giving LCEC the ability to run those lines south under ground and underwater to Sanibel to give them more electrical stability. The city needed to come up with $10 million it did not have so it was offered by the then CRA Director as a loan. You see CRA had stagnant money in its fund. There was a developer in the mix who showed drawing of a Northern European themed downtown. Retail ground level, office and live space on upper floors. The Fire Chief at that time if the high tension lines were on poles his trucks in an emergency could not get to the upper

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Oct-19-13 9:10 PM

balconies. Also it was conceivable those electric wire would be only 8 feet away from a balcony presenting a potential electrocution. I also at that time posted the looks of having large concrete poles on the sidewalks with wires strung through that area would not be eye appealing and cheapen the look people would want to invest their money in. Bottom line the city owes the CRA $10 million...when it gets a developer to build to a scraped plan. There is much more to this regarding plans looking like I described to Key West looks and as always there are people involved who were just biding their time, running separate companies with city clients and hired with no background in a multimillion dollar project.

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Oct-20-13 10:48 AM

To Grumpy 19

to Grunpy19, Good question, "What about the city owned property given to the now missing developer for a parking garage?" Is it still his,if so, is he paying taxes ?

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Oct-20-13 12:21 PM

Put in a records request at the City and your questions will be answered. Careful on this site...not all telling or complete info is ever here.

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Oct-21-13 9:39 AM

Lightswitch = revisionist

The city guaranteed the loan that the CRA is repaying from its revenue.

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