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Cape Coral seeks $2M in state funding to push for Chiquita Lock removal

The City of Cape Coral is moving forward with hopes to remove the controversial Chiquita Lock.

The fight over whether the lock should be removed has spanned several years, and the city hopes to get $2 million in funding from the state to help its cause.

The city wants to get rid of the lock because of boat traffic concerns, even after the Florida Department of Environmental Protection denied the city’s permit to remove the lock in March.

But the city is not giving up and neither are the people who live in the area. The lock is the source of a major headache for boaters and neighbors nearby. That’s why the city’s failed attempt to remove the lock is not stopping neighbors such as Steve Crane from pushing to see it go.

“We had last weekend, 70 boats lined up waiting to go through,” said Crane, who lives behind the lock and boats on the canal.”

“Everyone in the city should benefit and be interested in removing that lock,” Crane said.

The city continues to work with a new law firm to restart the legal battle to get the lock removed.

“I am in favor of removal of the lock, and we are certainly pushing that forward as fast as we possibly can,” Mayor Joe Coviello said.

“It would cost money to remove the lock of course and having money coming from the state just supports our position that it should really be removed,” Crane said.

But Director John Cassani of Calusa Waterkeeper says removing the lock will be bad for the environment, so he can’t understand why the city is still pushing to get rid of it.

“It would affect the mangrove community, and it would impact endangered species and their habitat,” Cassani said. “Two million dollars is an awful lot of public money to continue to pursue something that has already been through the legal review.”

The mayor said they are not sure if they will actually get the funding they are requesting, but he wants to make sure this is on the radar for legislators in Tallahassee. He hopes the funding request will bring the city closer to seeing the lock gone for good.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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