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Progress being made on future Buckley’s Pass in Punta Gorda

After several delays, there is progress on one cut through in Punta Gorda. Buckley’s Pass is meant to allow boaters easier access to Charlotte Harbor.

The project will increase many homeowners’ taxes, but neighbors hope it will also create a return on their investment.

Punta Gorda is a boaters’ paradise, but getting from the canals in Punta Gorda Isles to Charlotte Harbor can be time-consuming.

“Some of these sailboats and stuff take about an hour and a half to get out to Ponce Park through the canals,” said James Nelson of Charlotte County.

But crews are on track to open Buckley’s Pass in April.

The access channel will be nearly 1,500 feet long and 60 feet wide, connecting PGI’s canal system to Alligator Creek, which connects to Charlotte Harbor.

“We can get out into the harbor in 15 minutes instead of an hour and 15 minutes and that’s great,” said Rebecca Belsaas of Punta Gorda.

Homeowners will have to foot the bill, paying the city nearly $1,000 for each water access unit on their property. Many hope they’ll get a return on that investment.

“We’re hoping housing values go up so if and when we choose to sell, we are hoping it will increase the value of our homes,” Belsaas said.

They say they’re OK with spending some money, so they can spend more time taking in Punta Gorda’s natural beauty.

“The Buckley’s Pass just made it more appealing to us,” Nelson said.

It took more than 10 years to make Buckley’s Pass a reality. The city named it after Captain John “Jay” Buckley, the former president of the Punta Gorda Boaters’ Alliance.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Briana Harvath
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