Expansion and diversification are both part of a Southwest Florida city’s plan to bring high-paying jobs to the region.
Cape Coral wants people who live in the city to stay there for work and to spend their money in the city too. It’s part of the city’s plan for an urban community.
Cape Coral is known for its more than 400 miles of residential canals, spacious outdoors and a booming population.
There are also things the city is not currently known for.
“There’s no industry down here,” said John Giaquinto, the owner of Duval Street restaurant. “There’s none.”
The city wants to change that and bring more business to Cape Coral by offering incentives.
“Right now, at best, we’re out about a 92 to 8% ratio between the commercial tax base and the residential tax base,” Mayor John Gunter said. “What that means is 92% of the bills are on the shoulders of the residence, and we want to try to diversify that obligation.”
Gunter’s is a big believer, in order to bring businesses here, you need to draw them in.
“It is already shown at the walk through the door,” Gunter said. “And either infrastructure is not in place. We don’t have the same incentive packages that our neighbors have, so what’s going to happen, like it has happened, they’re just going to turn around and walk away.”
Cape Coral City Council is considering revamping its current incentive program in areas such as job growth, the arts, infrastructure and even small business.
Giaquinto is all for it.
“It keeps everything local,” Giaquinto said. “People can work here. They can also come here for lunch or dinner, a lot of the disposable income.”
The new programs will be presented to the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency in August, followed by a vote from city council at a later date.
“We have so many residents traveling across the bridge, and the reason for that is because we don’t have the jobs here,” Gunter said. “And that’s our responsibility as city leaders to attract those businesses, those higher paying jobs.”