By CHUCK BALLARO
Residents interested in the development of the Bimini Basin area streamed into the Chester Street Resource Center Thursday to give their thoughts and desires on the potential game-changing project for Cape Coral.
Hundreds of people turned out as Redevelopment Management Associates out of Pompano Beach presented an open house for interested parties to view information and ask questions about the Bimini Basin Redevelopment project.
Residents, property and business owners and community and neighborhood leaders were able to visit at their convenience all day long to discuss their thoughts and ideas regarding this potential project with the staff of RMA, the city’s project manager.
The open house was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., which gave people ample opportunity to visit without having the crush of people coming into a small area for a one-hour presentation.
Vince Cautero, the city’s community development director, said the idea was to gauge the community’s input on what they want and don’t want.
“It’s an informal walk-through and being done in small groups. We learned from the last charrette and open house that while we had timed presentations, we didn’t have enough room,” Cautero said. “We expanded the hours so it would make it better for people to come.”
The format was similar to previous open houses, where people posted their wants and desires on post-it notes.
In the invest category, for example, people wanted to see investment in the Yacht Club, roads, walking paths and the opening of the Rubicon canal into the basin.
Cuatero said he had gotten a lot out of what people were saying that morning.
“People want to see quality development and more recreational opportunities. They want to see more shops or tourist destinations. Property owners are concerned how it would impact their property. Noise and traffic are among their biggest concerns,” Cautero said.
Jenae Valentine, of RMA, said even early on, people were coming in, many of them city residents for decades, to give their valuable input.
“They seem to be excited about the project. We’re here to get the input and understand what they would like to see in the study area and implement it,” Valentine said, who answered questions and moderated discussion from those who had anything to say about the area.
Linda Prince, who has lived in the Cape for 25 years, said she thought the project should go forward.
“I have a great vision for the city and Bimini Basin can be the jewel of the city,” Prince said. “We need to get the growth in and let the city move forward.”
Prince said one of the things she would like to see is a marina that provides entertainment and restaurants, since there is nothing to present to boaters, many of them with lots of money to spend. She said they need to be part of the vision.
“I’m 100 percent behind it. They just need a developer to start on the project,” said John Jordan.