Neighbors urge animal protection amid slated SW Cape Coral park development

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Homeowners in southwest Cape Coral want to save the lives of state-threatened birds. There’s a big concern that a new park’s development could impact the lives of burrowing owls that already live there. Plans for a park include a playground and basketball courts.

Homeowners near proposed Sands Park want the City of Cape Coral to build around the homes of burrowing owls instead of causing their destruction with the new development in the city.

“We’ve got six acres,” neighbor Yolanda Olsen said. “There’s plenty of space. All they need to do is a little tweaking to the walkways to leave those three burrows in place.”

From a playground to pickleball courts, the city has some major updates slated for a piece of land in southwest Cape Coral.

Currently, burrowing owls call the vacant lot home. Olsen says at least three burrows are occupied by the small bird species.

“The frustration is that we’ve given them plenty of valid neighborhood input, and we don’t see them designing around these three burrows,” Olsen said.

Sands Park is one of seven new neighborhood parks the city will plant across Cape Coral along with what the city calls major improvements to already existing parks.

The project is all funded through a $60 million general obligation bond (GO bond), which is a municipal bond backed by the credit and taxing power of the issuing jurisdiction rather than the revenue from a given project, per Investopedia.

In an email to WINK News, Cape Coral said, “If needed, the city will safely relocate any owls,” to keep them out of harm’s way.

Olsen told us she and group of nearly 700 neighbors with the Southwest Florida Cape Coral Action Committee have asked the city to simply design around the three burrows instead of moving them anywhere.

Olsen and neighbors plan to host a rally alongside Friends of Wildlife at the proposed Sands Park Saturday, Jan. 18.

“At this point when asked, they’re not confirming that they will do it,” Olsen said.

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