CAPE CORAL, Fla. - WINK News is learning a Cape Coral park known for its wildlife could get a manatee viewing boardwalk. The city is asking for grant money that would provide the funds to build the boardwalk at Sirenia Vista Park in the northwest section of the city.
The city is asking for a $375,000 grant to build the boardwalk along the canal, which at times, has dozens of manatees in it.
The park's name literally means "manatee viewing" and some people believe the boardwalk would enhance what nature has already provided.
A $375,000 grant from the Lee County Tourist Development Council would allow the city to build an elevated boardwalk, 8 feet wide, and 700 feet parallel to the Bows canal.
Alberto Coriano is a frequent visitor. He supports the project. "I think it would be a good idea for the visitor and the residents, you know, a lot of people come to see the manatee in the wintertime," he said.
But one resident, who did not want to speak on camera or be identified, tells WINK News he worries the boardwalk would do more harm that good and fears recent construction in the area has driven out some of the manatees.
The city's parks and recreation director Steve Pohlman says the city wanted to build a manatee boardwalk in 2007.
"However when the economy made its turn, so did our plans," he said.
He says they're now able to get back to working on this property. A grant last year allowed the city to stabilize the shoreline. He says a grant for a boardwalk would enchance eco-tourism.
"The opportunity to see manatees congregating in a natural environment, it's a little different than being up at the water plant, where the water is artificially warm. This is a natural area where the manatees congregate," said Pohlman.
The city will find out if the grant money is approved by late spring or early summer.