Community against proposed changes to Jaycee Park

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

A proposed plan to take a simple neighborhood park with a paved trail, some benches and a playground and convert it to pavilions, food trucks, a bandshell, and much more, has a community protesting.

The Cape Coral community showed up to an open house Thursday in opposition to possible changes to Jaycee Park.

Thursday was the first opportunity for the community to see detailed renderings of the potential amenities for Jaycee Park and to hear directly from experts from the city who explained each of the possibilities.

For the most part, it did not seem to change the minds of people who are still firm in their stances.

They don’t want to see major changes to their beloved park.

“It’s just, I don’t want to have to look in the mirror after Jaycee Park, if it does change, and say, ‘I did nothing,'” said Roy Schoenfeld, a Cape Coral resident.

Mary Widmer was handing out wristbands that said “Save Jaycee Park.”

“Our hope is that they actually just leave it alone, that they will take the money that they have designated for this park and spend it much more wisely,” Widmer said.

The City of Cape Coral identified many of the concerns surrounding the possible changes to the park.

“What we wanted to try to do was to make sure that we showed them that we heard what they were saying,” said Connie Barron, assistant city manager.

Some city council members explained that the feedback they get from the community can still influence the direction of any potential changes.

“Nothing has been decided. Nothing is ready to be voted on. All that the city has done has engaged someone to help with planning what could be,” said Bill Steinke, a Cape Coral City Council member.

But some people at the meeting wished there was an option for “none of the above.”

“We thought we’d be sitting in for a meeting and get to say how we felt, and instead, there were just like posters around with the same thing that’s on Facebook: ‘Do you want this or this?’ No options like, We don’t want any of that,'” said Barbara Schiffer, a Cape Coral resident.

Some people said they really like the amenity options, just not at their beloved nature park.

“It looks beautiful what they’re showing here, but it’s not– I would like to see it go somewhere else, but not Jaycee Park,” said Don Hotz, another Cape Coral resident.

You still have an opportunity to give your feedback on the design options for Jaycee Park.

The City of Cape Coral has a survey on their website.

The city will take all the feedback they get and present it at their next committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 13.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

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