Straight From The Mayor: What's ahead for 2013?

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As I write my final column for 2012, one has to feel or think where did the year go?

The economy in the city of Cape Coral is beginning to look a little brighter than what it was last year. We are seeing more permits for construction than we have in some time. Hopefully, the real estate market and local economy has bottomed out, and we are beginning to climb our way back. It is always good to end the year on a high note.

While we look back over the last year, we must also look forward to the year that is coming up and beyond.

I still have many concerns about our unemployed and underemployed residents. Those who are barely making it and having a rough time putting food on the table. Hopefully, with the opening of the new VA clinic, one of our brighter spots, we will see some business activity in the Veterans Investment Zone. I am hoping that the traffic in and out of the clinic will give incentive to the private sector to come in and start building various types of businesses. The types of businesses that will offer, services to our veterans and their families.

I do believe there is a tremendous amount of potential that area of the city. I can see room for hotels, motels, restaurants, maybe even a satellite university or teaching hospital, even a rehabilitation center. We have many veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with very serious wounds. Those veterans will be in need of some form of rehabilitation. For some, these scars aren’t physical. We have some suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental problems. Having a rehabilitation center in the area would go a long way to helping these veterans get back into mainstream society.

With the new clinic and the revolving door it will have of veterans coming to our city for treatment it gives Cape Coral the opportunity to look at our city and see what a fine community we have here.

We need to project Cape Coral as a very veteran friendly community. It would be a very good thing if we could see more veterans move into the Cape. Good for them and good for us, it is what I call a win/win situation for everyone.

It would be good to see many businesses create badly needed jobs. We have a lot of young families with parents having a hard time putting food on the table. I think it is just a matter of time before a lot of that is alleviated. How long? I don’t know, hopefully not too far down the road.

I hope this council decides not to raise taxes or instigate new fees at least until the economy gets better and property values begin to rise. Of course, when that happens a lot more revenue will be pouring into the city, and hopefully we will not need any new increases.

Another piece to our future is starting public/private partnerships with our business community. We need to pool resources the city has with the resources from the private sector. We can pull expertise together in order to increase the capability to be able to seek out and find businesses that can be successful in our community. What this would do for the community is alleviate some of the tax burden off the residents. The burden would be lightened because of new revenue streams created by new commercial developments.

These are just some of the things as I look forward to 2013 that I see as terrific opportunities for the future of our city. I am looking forward to the next year and seeing Cape Coral begins to turn the corner and begin to live up to its full attention.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this will be my last “Straight from the Mayor” article this year. I want to take the time to wish each and every resident a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah, and also a healthy, happy and prosperous new year for everyone.

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