Cape Coral exploring ways to keep people living and working in the city

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
The City of Cape Coral wants to incentivize businesses to set up shop in their city.

A Southwest Florida city is on a mission to get people to open up their businesses in the area. Cape Coral wants to keep things local and get those who live in the city to also work there.

The initiative hopes to keep people in the area and help Southwest Florida’s biggest growing city keep booming.

Tens of thousands of people make the trip from Cape Coral over the bridge to Fort Myers to go to work.

“Too many people have to go over the bridge to Fort Myers. So it’s easier to just be here. There’s enough space here,” said Kathy Murdaugh of Cape Coral.

There is enough space and now a possible solution. The city has proposed an ad valorem property tax exemption that aims to give new or expanding businesses limited tax exemptions.

Cape Coral’s leaders believe this one move will continue the city’s growth, create business enterprises, and bring new jobs.

The proposal is something Bob Witbeck, who’s been in the Cape for almost a decade, supports.

“Cape Coral has always been, I don’t know, a bedroom community if you want to call it or whatever. There’s never been a whole lot of business here,” said Bob Witbeck.

Other people in Cape Coral are not excited about the idea. Art Mulford spends a few months in the cape each year. He’s drawn there because it’s a relaxed place to live. Now. he is worried more development could change that.

“I kinda like Cape Coral the way it is now, and I don’t want to see too much development, but then it’s sort of like, I’m here let’s pull up the ladder attitude. But I realize things have to be done,” said Mulford.

One thing everyone can support is more jobs.

“We’re open here. We need it down here,” said Murdaugh.

Some of the eligible businesses mentioned in the city’s presentation include corporate offices, technology, and manufacturing.

Cape City Council moved to let the voters decide if this is something they want to see. It will be one of the items on the ballot in November.

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