Cape Coral’s new mayor to focus on improvements, find a vision

In the wake of the untimely death to the leader of Southwest Florida’s largest city, another has come forward to keep the city on track as he assumes the role of mayor.

Newly-appointed Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter and the City continue to lead without Mayor Joe Coviello present upon his recent death. Two weeks after Coviello’s passing, Gunter is setting his sights on continuing to improve Cape Coral.

Gunter, who was most recently councilman of District 1, begins his first full week in the top city-elected position Monday. Since Mayor Gunter took his oath of office last week, he’s wasted no time.

“I think we’re at a pivotal point in our city, where we have to identify exactly who we are,” Gunter told WINK News.

Gunter’s first order of business is working on Cape Coral’s strategic plan for the future.

“To me, that’s so important because you have to have a vision,” Gunter said.

That vision includes managing the city’s growth with the increase in population and development.

Those areas in Cape Coral include the Pine Island Road corridor, which is already booming with construction, bringing with it new business. Gunter told us continued economic development requires new infrastructure.

“Unfortunately, maybe our infrastructure is not in place,” Gunter said. “We have to get those two things in parallel in order to achieve the ultimate goal that we’re looking for.”

Since Gunter was appointed to mayor, that leaves the District 1 seat open on Cape Coral City Council. The City is accepting applications for the leadership role Friday, Feb. 5. The City appoint a new council member rather than hold a special election, per terms of the City Charter.

MORE: Cape Coral City Council District 1 application form

Another priority for Gunter is handling the City’s COVID-19 response. Step one begins with ensuring the people of Cape Coral are at the top of the list.

“The Surgeon General put out a directive that you have to be a resident either full or part-time resident here in Florida, and I agree with that,” Gunter said. “I think that we have to take care of our residents first and we need to, in my opinion, this should be a 24/7 operation.”

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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