Cape Coral residents in path of the Caloosahatchee Connect project frustrated with its location

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Material delays are pushing back construction on the Caloosahatchee Connect project that was scheduled to begin construction on Monday. Crews plan to install a pipe to bring water from Fort Myers to Cape Coral during the dry season.

Not surprisingly, property owners along Everest Parkway are worried about their property values. That pipe will be installed in the right of way, which means construction crews will be soon be working feet from their front doors. For some, that also means losing trees and other landscaping on their property.

Bill Bojan takes great pride in the four massive palm trees outside his Cape Coral home. He planted them himself and said they help make the house he has lived in for 22 years feel like home. “Once you get the vegetation, now you have something that’s worthwhile looking at,” said Bojan.

Those triumphant trees are marked with orange stripes, as are many others along Everest Parkway. They will be removed to make way for the Caloosahatchee Connect project. “We should not destroy. We should kind of build and make things better,” said Bojan.

Caloosahatchee Connect calls for the installation of a pipe to bring water from Fort Myers to Cape Coral during the dry season for fire prevention and irrigation.

Crews will install the pipe in the right of way along Everest Parkway to connect the Everest Water Reclamation facility to Horton Park.

Melissa Glover said she understands the need, just not the pipe’s location, which will go in the right of way in front of her home. “I’m concerned with the driveway matching my existing driveway. My home was built in 1999. The driveway is the same age. Is the apron going to match the rest of the driveway?” Glover said.

Neighbors would rather the pipe go under the road, but a spokesperson said that would significantly impact traffic and increase the cost. “We take pride in our ownership, and you know like to have nice curb appeal. It’s just disheartening,” said Glover.

Homeowners will also have to remove decorative mailboxes. Melissa Glover said when she tried to move hers, it broke.

The supply chain delay means construction won’t start until later this week.

Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter admitted neighbors will have to deal with some inconveniences for a while. “We have different components of that particular project. Some are on land. Of course, some are in the waterways so you know we’ll try to make sure we notify the residents that live in and around where that construction will be. But it’s going to be an attribute for our community when it comes to recycled water,” said Gunter.

A city spokesperson said using the right of way was the most appropriate and cost-effective location for the pipe.

Horton Park, including the playground, will not close until crews are ready to drill. At this time the city does not have a contractor for that job.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.