The economy in Cape Coral continues to improve markedly year on year. Business is booming and more and more people are moving to the area to make the most of the beautiful scenery, low crime rate and affordable housing. It is perhaps understandable then that this year’s “Catch the Vision” event was such a roaring success. The event showcases projects in Cape Coral that promise to help spur even greater economic growth in the city and this year contained a great deal of positivity and good news about Cape Coral and its future.
Despite the poor weather 14 presenters took to the stage in a sold out event to outline their projects and how they will affect the economic fortunes of their beloved town. A wide range of different projects were outlined, showcasing Cape Coral’s diversity and the well rounded nature of the area’s growing economy.
Local pastor Wes Furlong started the event by announcing the opening of the American Health and Wellness Center as part of Cape Coral’s growing network of charitable and socially responsible businesses. The center will provide resources and support for at-risk families and offer emergency help to underprivileged families, including temporary, emergency placement in homes for children in crisis.
John Szerlag, Cape Coral city manager and executive director of the South Cape Community Redevelopment Agency introduced a number of programs which supported the city’s aim of becoming “a vibrant waterfront community that is the center of opportunity in southwest Florida”. These included the allocation of money every year to maintain Cape Coral’s 3000 miles of city streets and the introduction of a rolling, three-year infrastructure budget.
Rob Fowler, president of Fowler Construction and Development, gave attendees an update on Cape Coral’s commercial outlook for the immediate future, saying that commercial growth has increased 10% over the last year. He went on to forecast more convenience stores, fuel stations and more big box retailers moving into the area as the city continues to grow. He went on to point out that “ten point six million [dollars] was put into construction in Cape Coral this year”.
Sam’s Club, which promises to be an active business, civic and non-profit partner in the Cape Coral community, is set to open in the next few weeks. Those involved in the project used the “Catch the Vision” event to announce that Sam’s Club would be donating $15,000 to the City of Cape Coral Charter Schools, and reiterated their commitment to employing over 200 people at the club.
Dana Brunett, economic development director for the city of Cape Coral, enthusiastically announced that, the city had succeeded in attracting the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery to the area. The distillery which brings in 10,000 tourists a year will open up operations in Cape Coral next year and, it is hoped, will attract new microbreweries and brew pubs to the area.
Gary Aubuchon, creator of the Aubuchon Team of Companies, reported that new construction in the area surpassed all of last year’s predictions. He stated that the value of new, single-family homes had increased year on year, that construction permits had increased by 31% year on year and annual median house sales in the city were up 8.8% in Q3.
Melinda and Ian Mack of the South Florida Canoe and Kayak Club (SFCKC) gave the crowds an outline of the city’s new non-profit, privately funded international paddle sport facility. The facility which is currently under construction will include a boat house, physical therapy and weight rooms, men and women’s locker rooms, a 250-capacity conference room, a yoga studio and athlete housing. The SFCKC hopes to draw national and international visitors with water sport, football, soccer, baseball, and all manner of sporting events and tournaments. Those behind the facility have already contacted the U.S. Olympic Committee to offer training facilities to Olympic athletes at the park. It is hoped that the $22.5 million project will bring not only athletes to Cape Coral, but their families, friends and supporters. In addition it will employ 40 to 50 people, bring in a great deal in tax revenues for the city and county, and increased revenues for the local hospitality industry, retailers and other local businesses.
In addition to these speakers, a whole raft of other local companies, entrepreneurs and civic departments took to the stage to announce their own news and updates on the city, business and the local economy. As varied as the announcements were, each was a testament to how well the Cape Coral economy is doing, how quickly the local population is growing and how much that population cares about the fortunes of the city they live and work in.