Published: Aug 20, 2013 6:27 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 20, 2013 6:48 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A project many people thought would take six weeks to complete is turning into six months.

The city of Cape Coral closed Sirenia Vista Park in March. While construction continues, others are worried about the impact to wildlife.

The park is located in the northwest section of the city, at the corner of Ceitus Parkway and Old Burnt Store Road.


In March the city started to remove invasive plants. That was Phase One.

WINK News found out, months later, the park never opened again, because the city launched Phase Two: to stabilize 1700 linear feet of embankment.

The city told WINK News that paperwork is behind the hold up.  "It's the contracting process going through the bid process. things of that nature. It does take time to put those documents together, get the approvals, for the contractor to get started," said Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman.

One of the goals of the project is to make it easy for people to see manatees in the canals in the winter.

But Cheryl Anderson with the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife says in process of showing off the environment, the city is also destroying parts of it.

She says the city ruined a tree planted in honor of an LCEC donation, trees planted with grant money, and another tree home to a great horned owl.

"We made the effort to try and enhance the park. And our effort seems to have gone. Bulldozered," Anderson said.

The city blames the large equipment for damaging some of the trees, and says it will replace them.  Meanwhile there are those who welcome the improvements

"It will help stabilize everything, erosion of the soil, it stop, right? Improvement is a good thing," said Cape Coral resident Pedro Creencia.

The city says these massive piles of dirt will eventually be taken to other sections of the city.
The project is expected to be cleaned up by October 1st.

The tree home to the great horned owl was an Australian pine, an invasive species, also had to be removed. The city says the owl was not in the nest at the time.

In the future the city wants to build a boardwalk and environmental center at the park.