Bimini Basin project faces many hurdles; council to discuss plan Monday

Published: March 23, 2018 9:15 PM EDT
Updated: March 23, 2018 10:19 PM EDT

After years of talking, Cape Coral residents are excited to finally see some action on the Bimini Basin project, one that would make the area a waterfront destination with shops, restaurants and entertainment.

“I actually built the docks at this condo 20 years ago,” said Cape Coral resident Jimmy Williamson. “The first time it was 10 years ago I heard about them re-developing this area.”

“They just need to do it,” added resident Frank Dethlefsen. “The investors will come if the city reaches out.”

But many say it’s not that easy.

In the assessment of the project—that the Cape Coral city council will look at Monday—a consulting firm lists the city’s biggest hurdles, with the basin’s water quality topping the list.

“Number one—we really have to concentrate on the water quality here,” Dethlefsen said.

Also, the seemingly abandoned boats are another problem, according to the report. On Friday, 20 of them filled the basin.

“It’s a problem,” Dethlefsen said. “People need to step up to the plate, and I think our current mayor will probably do that.”

The Bimini Basin was championed by Mayor Joe Coviello, who has said in the past that investors must help make the project a reality. And neighbors agree.

“Investors aren’t going to come if you just have a good idea,” Dethlefsen said. “They want to see that the city has already invested in the project.”

“The mayor is doing a good job,” Williamson added. “They’re getting a lot of input at the contractor’s association. They’re listening to us, the builders and the residents.”

This implementation plan lists more than 40 different steps that need to happen in order to make the project possible. Things such as infrastructure improvements—like bridges and bike paths—, changing zoning and financial incentives for businesses to move in and even possibly buying a trash skimming vessel to keep the water clean are examples.

The council will discuss the plan Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the council chambers.